What a Difference a 7-Day DVR Lift Can Make

One of the more fascinating aspects of our new DVR-lifted ratings world is the effect it can have on the Nielsen rankings. Moderately rated programs such as The Blacklist and Chicago Med become highly-rated. Highly-rated programs such as The Big Bang Theory and NCIS become even more highly-rated. Some Top 25 programs in live viewership such as The Great Indoors and Mom fall just out of it in L+7 viewership while Designated Survivor leap-frogs right into it.

Below is a side-by-side comparison of the Nielsen Top 25 this season in L+SD viewership through 1/22/17 and its Top 25 in L+7 viewership through 1/8/17 (the most recent data available at press time).

A few notes:

  • The two closely-rated editions of The Voice were combined into one rating to provide a better portrait of the Top 25.
  • CBS’s new Hunted premiered to 10.77 million L+SD viewers on 1/22 — which would otherwise be good for a #6 ranking. But because of a 48 million viewer lead-in from the AFC Championship, that premiere number is heavily-inflated and therefore not necessarily indicative of future viewership so it is not included here.
  • The L+7 chart is compiled from our ongoing tracking since the beginning of the season as a snapshot of where things stand — with a few caveats:
    1.  60 Minutes ranking is estimated and based on last year’s L+SD/L+7 viewership differential.
    2. The rankings for Dancing with the Stars, NCIS: Los AngelesSurvivor and Kevin Can Wait are estimated based on the number of weeks they appeared in the Top 25 for 7-day DVR lift — which vary, but each make up less than half of the season now in Week 16.
    3. Being a live sporting event, any 7-day DVR lift for Sunday Night Football will be negligible. So for our purposes here, the same viewership average was used for both L+SD and L+7.

And a few observations:

  • The 25th-ranked program in L+SD viewership is averaging 6.77 million.
  • The 24th-ranked programs in L+7 viewership are averaging 10.08 million.
  • 23 out of the Top 25 programs currently appear on the Top 25 in both L+SD and L+7 viewership.
  • The Great Indoors (#20) and Mom (#21) currently appear on the L+SD Top 25, but not on the L+7 Top 25 on account of their DVR lift as it relates to those of other programs.
  • Designated Survivor and The Blacklist don’t currently appear on the L+SD Top 25, but do appear on the L+7 Top 25 — respectively ranking #10 and #23 on account of their substantial DVR lift.
  • The Top 3 on both rankings is made up of Sunday Night FootballNCIS and The Big Bang Theory — although in different orders.  
Sources: Spoiler TV; TV Series Finale
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