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October 12 2009

Dollhouse makes enormous DVR gain. "The "Dollhouse" premiere jumped a stunning 50% when seven-day viewing is added" says The Hollywood Reporter's Live Feed - higher than any other show during premiere week. News of good. By comparison, lead-in 'Brothers' got 0% DVR gain.

Beat me by one minute. How does this compare to last season?
Good question. Either way, that is where the audience is. On the OUTSIDEZ, trashing fan boy stereotypes by having lives.
It's about the same gain, only with a smaller Live+SD base to start. S1 averaged a 1.5 Live+SD, adding .5 in Live+7. "Vows" had a 1.0 Live+SD, adding .5 in Live+7.

(We never got the DVR data for the last three eps of S1, but my guess is they were around the 1.5 or 1.6 mark.)
More figures here.
This was for "Vows"? I thought we already had those numbers.

Of course, if this was for "Vows," then how much more of a jump are we going to see for "Belle Chose," which actually got some publicity, and for eps. 4 and 5, which are actually getting real ads?
So I guess the hope is that the execs see this and realize Dollhouse has fans, they just don't watch live? What's the best that could come of this, though? Moving Dollhouse seems like it would kill it, and I don't think more promotion would help people watch live... what's the ideal impact these numbers have on how Fox treats Dollhouse?
50% gain is better than 33% gain, so technically the .5 is better news now than last season. But then, any good news this season is better than last season.
so... no picnic, then?
Last season wasn't it more like 30%, and that was considered pretty high? So it's gone up?
So if we compare all the data for the season one premiere to all the data for the season two premiere, has Dollhouse only lost half its audience or a third?
It's still about 50% down overall on where (I think, and apparently Reilly thinks) it should be. That said it climbed ~20%-ish last week (it depends who you ask). I think getting 50% more audience is doable. People keeping saying the show won't get the back 9 - I mean, EVERYBODY is saying that - but I'm like, come on, since when has this show been NORMAL? Come to think of it, since when has anything Joss done turned out having a normal business journey?

If FOX advertise "Belonging" PROPERLY (no comedy trailers about what happens to Priya please), send out screeners (...Teehee, watch me not commenting...), and make people aware 4 is appointment TV (it's awesome) and that 5 and 6 are event TV (they carry on from each other! big things happen! Summer Freakin' Glau up in your TV box!) I think it will gain.

The rest of this post has been delayed for a year for conversion to 3D TECHNOCOLOUR!

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-12 18:24 ]
Simon, looking at it that way, it lost half its Live+SD demo and 42 % of its Live+7 demo.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2009-10-12 18:30 ]
So really not that impressive then?
(no comedy trailers about what happens to Priya please)


I think you made my brain explode...
So really not that impressive then?


Statistically? No. Holding it up against what Reilly said they expected? No.

But, you know, it's not worse than where Season 1 ended. Potential for build is really there, especially with the results of "Belle Chose".
Fetch the razor blades!

The numbers are down. You know, 50% off where the execs said they hoped it would be. And they were from the very first minute season 2 started, and my argument will always be the relaunch was bodged to buggery. I still maintain the network can - and should - turn it around.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-12 18:30 ]
I do think the promos at the end of this past week's episode were good -- if they keep that up, we may see another increase for ep. 4.

I did see that there was some confusion, though. Since they led with "In 3 weeks, Summer Glau joins the Dollhouse...", there's been a couple of people who thought that it wouldn't return for three weeks. Yikes. Hopefully they'll promote the return properly, so people know when it comes back.
So Reilly is looking for... 3.0? Or 2.0?
Reilly was quoted as looking for 1.5 Live+SD going on 2.0 Live+7. What S1 averaged.
I'm working like a little annoying Yorkshire Terrier on making sure there are promos aired about the return. I know people reading at Fox will be, like, "Of course there will be proper promos aired, Kevin!", and my answer is always going to be "...Yes. But are there really going to be proper promos aired?".
I'm very interested to see what the DVR numbers are for "Belle Chose."
DH lead-in "Brothers" gained 0%. Amazingly bad.
"BROTHERS" is being burned off on Sundays. It's flown under the radar as FOX didn't announce it.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-12 18:41 ]
Any clue what will that mean for Fridays, gossi?
DOLLHOUSE is getting new lead ins. FOX only ordered 13 eps of BROTHERS, and if they continue to air new episodes on both Fri and Sun, they will run out of BROTHERS within a month.

They've also scheduled "all-new" TIL DEATH on Sunday 25th.
I really don't get why they stress the percentages so much in these reports. Tiny original number means even a small actual gain looks impressive when given as a percentage.
Okay, so I know the numbers still aren't very good, but a 25% increase with "Belle Chose" this past Friday and a 50% bump in viewership with DVR usage for "Vows" is astounding. I definitely think that this indicates that Dollhouse still very clearly has an audience that is tuning into the series and will probably continue to do so.

Plus, with the slightly better promos and the feeling we're getting that the show may or may not get new (and hopefully better) lead-ins is all very exciting. Hopefully this all continues to help the show trend upwards in the numbers. At least enough to get through these 13 episodes (if not, by chance of a minor miracle, a back nine?).
@hitfixdaniel tweeted: "DVR numbers for "Dollhouse" basically bump the show back to where it was in *live* numbers middle of last season."

And man, I hope the new lead-in is good. That's encouraging news, gossi.
What about the VHS numbers?
Exactly, helcat. Daniel Fienberg is also right in pointing out that the "DVR numbers for "Dollhouse" basically bump the show back to where it was in *live* numbers middle of last season". It's still not good.

But, on the other hand, psychologically, it's awesome that the fandom gets some "good" news, or news that seem good, positive, motivating. Together with the "Belle Chose" uptick (in both ratings and quality) this might be the push that's necessary to keep the word of mouth going so that the build can actually happen.
Okay, so I know the numbers still aren't very good, but a 25% increase with "Belle Chose" this past Friday and a 50% bump in viewership with DVR usage for "Vows" is astounding.

Only when you express it in percentages, the base numbers remain poor by any standard.
What about the VHS numbers?


Don't know about them, but the amount of "goodness gracious"-exclamations during NFL-coverage this weekend increased, like, percentage-wise to infinity compared to the weeks before. That's gotta count for something.
Comeon. If I thought this was bad news I would say. I'm always postin' the bad news here, and I was the one who set off the alert flare it might get pulled. Which, by the way, still possible.

But right now I know for a fact that Fox are indeed sending out press screeners for certain upcoming episodes (I don't want to say which ones for various reasons). And there's gonna be promos, because I'll literally yap at everybody until they happen, I'm nice and extremely annoying like that. Dollhouse has a chance if we keep turning up and telling people about it.

[ edited by gossi on 2009-10-12 19:16 ]
Yep, absolute numbers wise, still not as big a gain as last year's smaller percentage increases. Still, with this sort of thing perception is reality (much as I hate to admit that ;) and if people see an apparent upswing and gathering momentum towards higher numbers then they might be more likely to give the show a chance (since, understandably, fewer people are going to start watching a series that's apparently about to be cancelled). In other words this is one of the very few times that mathematical illiteracy among the general populace may actually be a good thing ;).

People love a comeback nearly as much as they like a gracious winner.

(and the numbers are better than last week, if they keep getting better then there's some actual reason for hope too)
It's heading in a right direction & this is good PR; don't lose hope now :)
I'll be curious to see what the new lead-ins are for Dollhouse. I'd imagine even repeats of some of their popular shows (House, Fringe, Bones, Lie to Me) would garner a larger viewing pool for DH, which could easily put their numbers up where the execs want them to be, especially with the good episodes and good promos.
THR reports last season's premiere boost was 30%. So 50% this season opener is significant if you ask me. Considering Brothers got 0%... you know. If you're looking at what shows to cancel, which ya gonna pick?
On the OUTSIDEZ, trashing fan boy stereotypes by having lives.

Heck yeah, that's where I am! Okay, my D&D group plays on Fridays, but it still means I tape it.
The comparison between 30% uptick and 50% uptick from live to DVR doesn't mean especially much, in an objective sense unless we know some other data (which might be in the various articles today, but I haven't had my coffee yet so I'm not going to try to look just yet). In terms of hard actual numbers, did live viewers drop, but DVR viewership basically stay the same? If so, all that would mean is that the via-DVR audience stuck around for season two, despite the live audience not.

I have no idea, because I need to caffeinate and look. But I don't see how the comparative live-to-DVR percentage increases really convey anything.
Why this might not be a good thing

by me

It was speculated that season 2 got greenlit cause of the DVR numbers and the anticipation that the season one DVD would sell well. Fox got 20th Century Fox to cut the cost of the season two episodes and 20th Century could offset this due to the potential high sales of Dollhouse DVDs (given the previous track record of Buffy, Angel and Firefly).

Now the sales of the season one DVD were disappointing. One must ask why? Was it due to due to the quality of the show. Or could it put down to another entirely different reason? Compared to other shows, Dollhouse has a high proportion of viewers who DVR the show. If they already have the season stored on their hard drive, a great number of them are not going to go out and buy the DVD. Especially in today's economic climate.

So my questions are as follows - are Dollhouse's DVR numbers having a negative impact on the sales of the DVD and will 20th Century Fox have to take this into account when it comes to negotiating a third season with Fox?
The comparison between 30% uptick and 50% uptick from live to DVR doesn't mean especially much, in an objective sense unless we know some other data (which might be in the various articles today, but I haven't had my coffee yet so I'm not going to try to look just yet). In terms of hard actual numbers, did live viewers drop, but DVR viewership basically stay the same? If so, all that would mean is that the via-DVR audience stuck around for season two, despite the live audience not.


Well, to be fair, I think the live audience stuck around too... looking at where S1 ended. (Not, if looking at the average of S1 of course). Dollhouse is now going quite steady, with every episode since "Briar Rose" being around the 1.0 mark live+sd. I think it's flattened out, and there was basically now loss between S1 and S2.
The comparison at issue was the respective premieres, however.
If they already have the season stored on their hard drive, a great number of them are not going to go out and buy the DVD. Especially in today's economic climate.


Hence why 20th Century Fox wants another Epitaph One (i.e. DVD exclusive episode) this season.

[ edited by AnotherFireflyfan on 2009-10-12 20:16 ]
THR reports last season's premiere boost was 30%. So 50% this season opener is significant if you ask me.

Factor in the smaller viewing number to begin with and the increasing use of DVRs at all in the Nielsen sample and I think you really have a wash rather than any significant change.

Considering Brothers got 0%... you know. If you're looking at what shows to cancel, which ya gonna pick?
Brothers is dead, but I don't think that really helps Dollhouse particularly.
This also proves again Dollhouse is on the wrong night. Mondays would work, but I guess House will stay as the lead-in for 24. THursday at 9 PM could probably work, since Tuesday and Wednesday are Idol nights.
The comparison at issue was the respective premieres, however.


Ah, yes, you're right. I guess I jumped over to the other view because of the "stuck around"-thing. (And probably because I always subconsciously wondered why people compared premiere numbers to each other; it's not something that would occur to me at all, but I guess that's the reason why I don't work at a network... :)
In hard numbers, DVR viewing for the S2 premiere was roughly the same (apparently a little down) as for the S1 premiere. The S1 premiere was watched by 1.5 million people via DVR. The S2 premiere was watched by 1.3 million people via DVR. The only reason the percentage increase from live to DVR was so large this year was because the live viewing (comparing premiere to premiere) was down so dramatically.

Now, that says nothing about any trends within S2 itself. But if people are going to compare the percentage rise due to DVR from S1 premiere to S2 premiere, the hard numbers are important to remember.

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-12 20:23 ]

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-12 20:23 ]
Even though the live ratings changed a lot last season, the DVR numbers never did. It was always steady at .5-.6 demo and about a million viewers. It looks like that hasn't changed. Seems to me the DVR audience is more loyal than some of the live audience.
On the OUTSIDEZ, trashing fan boy stereotypes by having lives.

Heck yeah, that's where I am! Okay, my D&D group plays on Fridays, but it still means I tape it.


Hee :). These threads always leave me feeling baffled, so I'm going to go with OH NO! and also YIPPEE! Since I'm a currently disappointed / ambivalent fan of the show, that works every which way. But as for it being on the wrong night... I'm pretty sure it's only the fact that it's on a Friday night that's kept it alive this long. I doubt it would have gotten the numbers necessary on another night... but we'll never know, alas, or, thank goodness.

In other words this is one of the very few times that mathematical illiteracy among the general populace may actually be a good thing ;).

I knew I was contributing to the greater good somehow. Yay me and the general populace! ;)
The upside spin of the numbers is simple: DVR viewing is basically holding steady. Combine that with a slight upward live trend from episode to episode so far this season, and the season two trend doesn't appear to involve shedding viewers.

That's a different issue from comparing it to season one, but it's obviously not irrelevant either.
In hard numbers, DVR viewing for the S2 premiere was roughly the same (apparently a little down) as for the S1 premiere. The S1 premiere was watched by 1.5 million people via DVR. The S2 premiere was watched by 1.3 million people via DVR. The only reason the percentage increase from live to DVR was so large this year was because the live viewing (comparing premiere to premiere) was down so dramatically.


While your argument is right, your numbers are a bit off: "Ghost" increased one million viewers from Live+SD to Live+7, "Vows" 900.000.

(Last I looked we didn't get Live-numbers for "Vows", so we cannot compare them to the 1.5 mill "Ghost" got between Live and Live+7. Where does your 1.3 mill figure come from?)

Edit: clarifying.

[ edited by wiesengrund on 2009-10-12 20:41 ]
oops...

[ edited by catherine on 2009-10-12 21:19 ]
What's broken, italics wise?

What about now? Better. Anyway.

While your argument is right, the numbers are a bit off

Hence my "apparently a little down". ;)

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-12 20:36 ]
Last I looked we didn't get Live-numbers for "Vows"

Isn't the 2.0M (or was it 2.1) in the first several post-Vows posts on TVbytheNumbers the live number?
Evidently a lot of people didn't even realize the new season had started until Eliza went on talk shows to advertise it (kudos to Eliza!). I'm hoping that Fox will at least postpone axing the show while they see if these numbers can grow at all.
Isn't the 2.0M (or was it 2.1) in the first several post-Vows posts on TVbytheNumbers the live number?

Maybe you mean the Live+SD number for "Instinct" which got 2.049M viewers?

Usually live numbers come out after three weeks with the rest of the DVR numbers, since they're essentially a result of the cleanup process Nielsen does when they count the DVR numbers precisely. Now would have been the time to get them for "Vows", but apparently we won't.
Simon, I do not think the DVR Rating effect the DVD sales but the iTunes sales might. After awhile DVR's fill up and episodes get erased. My DVR seems to have a 3 day turn over to watch stuff and heaven help you if there is a marathon (damn you mythbusters). Anyway, you rent it from iTunes for an indenfinite period time, which may impact DVD sales because it is a purchase. The only thing different is that DVD has commentaries, and other features. Die hards want the bells and whistles, while most fans just want the episodes which may be cheaper to get via iTunes than to wait and pay for the DVD. However, with the current economy the DVD's may be more want than need. However, Christmas is coming and that may help the DVD sales. It wouldn't hurt if some people could buy the DVD and donate them to hospitals and libraries. Library rentals seem to have increased in the past year in many areas of the US according to reports.
Maybe you mean the Live+SD number for "Instinct" which got 2.049M viewers?

No. I was using a number reported in the initial premiere ratings posts on TVbytheN. If that isn't the live number, then what is it?

ETA: Alternatively, I could be high and/or reading three different posts at the same time and mixing numbers. Is what TVbtN reports the next day "live+SD"?

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-12 21:19 ]
Does anyone else hate the photo they chose to use for this story? How does Eliza shining a spotlight symbolize the show?
Or, perhaps I've just answered my own question, and once again, that points to the industry not getting this show.
At any rate, my numbers might be mixed up, but the point is still sound. The only reason the percentage increase for this premiere compared to the last one was so high was because in hard actual numbers DVR viewership remained basically steady while live viewing dropped.

I tend to suspect that DVR viewers of Dollhouse might be exactly the same viewers considered the show's "base".

[ edited by The One True b!X on 2009-10-12 21:22 ]
ETA: Alternatively, I could be high and/or reading three different posts at the same time and mixing numbers. Is what TVbtN reports the next day "live+SD"?


Yup, we usually get Live+SD next day and detailed Live/Live+SD/Live+7 breakdown three weeks after (only without Live this time, apparently). Vows' Live+SD was initially reported as 2.56M (corrected now to 2.503M).

At any rate, my numbers might be mixed up, but the point is still sound. The only reason the percentage increase for this premiere compared to the last one was so high was because in hard actual numbers DVR viewership remained basically steady while live viewing dropped.


Yep, as I said, that I agree completely with.
Live and Same Day (Live+SD) are the numbers that get reported the next day and so are the ones that get the most discussion. Live gets reported with the full DVR data as they use it to calculate the DVR audience.

ETA to Bix's point - you only count once in Nielsen ratings regardless if you watch the same episode multiple times in the time period.
I don't even understand what that has to do with my point. Heh. (Serious blanking, not a dismissive blanking.)
Nah, I think I just misread your last post. Feel free to ignore.
Is what TVbtN reports the next day "live+SD"?

Yes. Those numbers are always live plus same day, so when it's reported that 1.5 million watched on DVR, it's usually only a 1 million increase because the rest was already counted in the initial numbers.
Is Fox starting to show promos for episode 4 this week? I think these numbers are a great sign, btw. And I think there's lots of word of mouth going on. I noticed Eliza's been getting thousands of new followers on Twitter since the Season 2 premiere and I think it has a lot to do with the show.

Also, it has a lot to do with us. There are so many great fans doing their best to help Dollhouse and that is important.

[ edited by danielgm86 on 2009-10-12 21:38 ]

Hence why 20th Century Fox wants another Epitaph One (i.e. DVD exclusive episode) this season.


Didn't seem to make any difference to the sales of the first season DVD.
Didn't seem to make any difference to the sales of the first season DVD.


Do we know that for sure? I mean, they could have been worse, I guess. :)
So glad to hear they're sending out 2x04 to critics. If the episode really is that good, people need to see it.

I just hope it does that special something for everybody y'know?

[ edited by Rhodey on 2009-10-12 22:51 ]
Is there a chart or something we can look at? Trying to remember all of these numbers is confusing. Can't we graph out Season 1 & 2 so we can track?
Season 1 will sell buckets if they keep the show on air, establish it internationally and find a bigger audience in the US. In my opinion.
Is there a chart or something we can look at? Trying to remember all of these numbers is confusing. Can't we graph out Season 1 & 2 so we can track?


I'm entering all the ratings infos here.
Since Epitaph One was eventually made available on itunes, a lot of people might have gotten it that way rather than buying the dvd set. Yet another example of itunes hurting sales of physical media in my opinion.
Thanks wiesengrund. I was wondering what source you're using for the numbers? I noticed that the last 3 episodes of Season 1 aren't updated.
Ha. That's all I really have to say.
So I guess the true nerds are the people who stay home and watch Brothers?
korkster, the sources are TVBTN and pifeedback and a few others. (They eventually all agree... ;)

The last 3 eps of s1 don't have DVR data because the season ended before we got to them (DVR numbers usually take two and a half weeks to get released). After the upfronts and Dollhouse's renewal, none of the usual outlets bothered to release them, probably because there was nothing to speculate about any more.
Well that sucks, wiesengrund. :( It messes with my comparison chart! I just used your wikia as a source and put both S1 & S2 together so we could compare graphically (viewership wise).

Now that I have it... I don't know what to do with it, so I put it here: Dollhouse Viewership Comparison. Please let me know if I should add anything else (or correct).
Live+SD, DVR, Total, Live+SD 18-49 (max live+SD 18-49), Total 18-49

Season 1

Ep 1 - Ghost: 4.78m, 1.6m, 5.8m, 2.0 (3.5), 2.6
Ep 2 - Target: 4.2m, 1.46m, 5.25m, 1.67 (1.9), 2.21
Ep 3 - Stage Fright: 4.18m, 1.67m, 5.28m, 1.61 (2.8), 2.19
Ep 4 - Gray Hour: 3.58m, 1.61m , 4.63m , 1.5 (2.6), 2.11
Ep 5 - True Believer: 4.25m, 1.52m, 5.28m, 1.6 (2.6), 2.14
Ep 6 - Man on the Street : 4.14m, 1.48m, 5.06m, 1.5, (2.9) 2.03
Ep 7 - Echoes : 3.87m, 1.42m, 4.82m, 1.4 (3.6), 1.96
Ep 8 - Needs: 3.43m, 1.53m, 4.39m, 1.46 (1.8), 1.96
Ep 9 - Spy in the House of Love: 3.51m, 1.5m, 4.39m, 1.39 (2.5), 1.87
Ep 10 - Haunted: 2.99m, ????, ????, 1.2 (2.2), ??
Ep 11 - Briar Rose: 3.062m, ????, ????, 1.1, ??
Ep 12 - Omega:2.8m, ????, ????, 1.0, ??

Season 2

Ep 1 - Vows: 2.503m, 0.914m, 3.54m, 1.0, 1.5
Ep 2 - Instinct: 2.09m, xxxx, xxxx, 0.8, xx
Ep 3 - Bell Chose: 2.25m, xxxx, xxxx, 1.0, xx
As an Australian I feel completely useless right now... I can't even buy the dvd since it hasn't been released here yet. (I supose I could buy one from the USA, but I'm worried about zoning and whether it would actually play on my dvd player)
If your DVD player doesn't already play different region's discs there's very likely to be a multi-region "hack" mortimer. Just put your specific model into google along with "multi-region hack" and it'll likely come up (and though "hack" may sound intimidating or risky if you're not a techie it's almost always just a few key presses on your remote control).

Most DVD players from the last 5-ish years are "hackable" and i've personally never had an R1 DVD that didn't play (and I have quite a few a) cos i'm kind of impatient and b) R1 discs often have better extras).
Another article on the effect of DVR ratings on this season, NY Times.
From the NY Times article:
“This confirms what we’ve known: the DVR is our frenemy,” said Alan Wurtzel, the president of research for NBC.

Does this mean NBC researches Dollhouse ?

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