A press event hosted by the measurement company in New York went deeper than ABC’s many ratings announcements in recent weeks. Nielsen’s snapshot shows how many younger viewers tuned in via mobile or connected devices — about half of those under 34, an audience broadcast networks are desperate to retain.
Charts comparing the 1997 finale of Roseanne with its March 2018 revival told a familiar tale to anyone who has lived through dramatic TV transformation. A healthy 66% increase in total viewing occurred between the 1997 farewell and last month’s return, Nielsen said, while offering the caveat that 1997 numbers were based on the total number of televisions, while today’s figures are based on actual human population. While the live, linear rating dropped 36% from the roaring ’90s, time-shifting and technology pushed the total audience for the reboot to 11.0 million total viewers, compared with 6.6 million for the original. Nearly as many viewers saw the reboot premiere via DVR (3.9 million) as those who caught it live (4.2 million).
Of the remaining viewers, 1.8 million watched through set-top-box VOD, while 0.9 million used connected-device VOD platforms. Of the stratospheric 11 million total, just 200,000 viewers (about 2%) streamed the show on mobile devices or on a computer. Despite the slender mobile/smart TV slice of the total pie, that audience was young. The fact that nearly half of all viewers under the age of 34 who watched Roseanne did so through a connected device or via mobile/laptop is a clear sign for would-be hitmakers in the future.
Another area Nielsen has been looking at is out-of-home viewing, which had been a missing element in many ratings numbers, especially sports. With several networks investing more heavily in research about out-of-home, which captures bars and restaurants and other places where groups take in big games, Nielsen presented new data on the NCAA men’s basketball tournament.
In each round of the tournament, games saw an 8.4% lift from OOH viewing among total viewers. Younger viewers were especially likely to flock to communal TVs, giving Final Four semifinal ratings on TNT a remarkable 22% lift, Nielsen said.
Along with the Roseanne and NCAA numbers, Nielsen offered some interesting stats on Netflix’s Lost in Space. Nielsen, which recently started measuring subscription VOD content from major players, said the show drew 6.4 million total viewers on its premiere date, April 13. While that was nearly one-third of the 23 million for the second season of Stranger Things last October, it ranks third among all sci-fi titles, next to the Will Smith feature Bright. Within the first three days of its availability, Lost in Space had about 28 million viewers.