Originally filed Tuesday, July 10, 2018 by RODNEY HOfirstname.lastname@example.org on his AJC Radio & TV Talk blog
In the late 2000s, when I started covering TV, I tracked overnight Nielsen ratings obsessively. They were clear indicators of a show’s power and popularity. I wrote a lot of ratings stories in those days.
But DVR usage surged, then streaming and on-demand options proliferated. Overnight ratings became progressively less relevant. Now they seem to only matter for live programming like the Oscars or the Super Bowl. Fox, the broadcast network, a couple of years ago stopped sending out press releases touting its overnight ratings.
And while overnight Nielsen ratings are readily available to the public, other measurements are harder to come by. Sometimes, networks will release DVR usage or a collective number including on-demand numbers over a certain period of time. Or I would have to request them.
So the scene has shifted and Netflix makes things even more opaque: the streaming service doesn’t release any ratings information whatsoever. (Neither does Amazon Prime or Hulu.) They don’t need to. They have no advertisers to cater to. (Nielsen is trying to do some measurements of shows on the service. “Glow,” for instance, draws a very young, affluent audience.)
Today, Deadline.com came out with a story showing the power of the Starz app. The July 1st season 5 debut episode of “Power,” starring Decatur native Omari Hardwick, was streamed 2.8 million times in its first week, more than the 2.1 million who viewed it on Starz including DVR usage the first three days.
The app viewership more than doubled that of the season 4’s debut.
“Power” caters to a younger, more tech-savvy audience. So app viewing is now the future, even if the show is viewed now on a 10-inch iPad in your hand vs. a 50-inch TV you can watch from the couch.