Through the first half of the 2014-15 season, CBS’ primetime lineup is delivering more viewers than 11 years ago as multi-platform viewing grows, generating bigger audiences. While it’s CBS’ point, it speaks to how all broadcast networks are, with varying degrees of success, able to re-assemble their audience via all these other platforms.
CBS’s 2014-15 current roster of 24 programs, viewed across linear television, DVR, video-on-demand and online streaming, is averaging 13,73 million viewers – a 3% increase over 2003-04’s linear-only average of 13.38 million. These totals do not include viewing on various forms of unmeasured nonlinear viewing, including mobile and over-the-top platforms such as CBS All Access and DVR playback after seven days.
“We knew the big shows would get a lot of time-shifted viewing, but now we’re seeing meaningful gains across the entire schedule, which is very encouraging to us,” David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer at CBS Corporation and President of CBS Vision said in today’s announcement. “We’re delivering more viewers per program than we did back in 2003. And for the record, we’re up from last year too.”
While the network’s The Big Bang Theory (23.19 million viewers), NCIS (22.47 million), NCIS: New Orleans (19.67 million), Scorpion (16.38m) and Madam Secretary (15.97m) are the biggest beneficiaries of multiplatform viewing, CBS noted that programs across the entire schedule are gaining significant additional audience from delayed viewing this season. And its multiplatform audience this season is up 9% compared with its comparable multiplatform average a year ago (13.7 million vs. 12.6 mil).
According to multiple sources, at least 95% of viewing back in ’03-’04 was linear. And CBS finished that season No. 1 in overall audience. That said, there are, according to Nielsen, about 20 million more people in the country now than back then. In the 2003-04 TV season, Nielsen’s estimated total-viewer population in TV homes stood at 276 million; this season it’s 296 million.