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April 01 2015

Ratings for last night's episode of Agents of SHIELD. The show got a 1.4/4 in the 18-49 demo.

So AOS wins its hour and will crush everything in the night except maybe The Flash (will be neck and neck) in L+3 and L+7. Great news!
I guess we'll always be left to wonder how much the ratings might improve if this show ever had a decent lead-in.
Maybe we will find out next year.
Unless the world has changed on me again ratings for scripted shows drop a lot after February so this is pretty normal.

Recently I have had cause to look at a bunch or articles on ratings and I have turned up some interesting stuff. It explains
to a large degree why so many people are wrongly focusing on the L+SD numbers.

In one article that is cited a lot it was stated that 25% of viewers were time shifting and that was a 5% increase since
2010. It went to claim that the L+SD's were a good approximation of the C3's based on a 1 week purchase of the C3's for premiere
week of 2012. This infers that the number of people in the live + SD who do not watch the commercials roughly EQUALS the number
of people in the 3 days following the broadcast who DID watch the commercials. If those two numbers are close its an accident.
There is no cause and effect relationship here.

In another article from Mar. 2015 the number time shifting was slightly over 50%. In this article in Adweek it came out that in
some cases the C3's were lower than the L+SD ratings. This surprised me at first. It means that the number of people who
time shift on the same day is a lot larger than I thought and that lots of them skip the commercials too. That makes the L+SD
an even weaker number for scripted shows.
The L+SD number is more irrelevant every single day. The C3 numbers I see do not closely approximate L+SD at all but I can imagine that 3 years ago they might have. Also, VOD is now incorporated into C3 by Nielsen (that just started) and that is mostly fast forward disabled so close to 100% of those viewers go to C3.
Do VOD numbers include iTunes and Amazon Prime?
Unless the world has changed on me again ratings for scripted shows drop a lot after February so this is pretty normal.

After the clocks jump forward everything drops, so you're right. AGENTS OF SHIELD's year-to-year drop is a bit troubling, however. On April 1, 2014 the show managed a 2.0 final rating. Even if the show is adjusted up a tenth of a point, its rating is still down 25% year-on-year.
@The Dark Shape You are right. The show started out rather weak in the Sept. and never improved. More of an effort needed to be put into bringing people back imo and it did not happen.
The redesigned Disney TV Group site has all the press releases you want to read for spinned ratings, demographics etc. Check out the latest one for Agents of SHIELD.
Great site, Simon. Confirmed what I saw elsewhere about AoS kicking ass with young men. ABC desperately needs that demo.

MissKittysMom, iTunes and the like does not count in ratings since that is only for determining advertising (commercials) revenue but that money goes straight to ABC (sometimes the studio and sometimes the network) so they definitely are counting it. :)
I really don't understand how the American rating system works, but i'm legitimately worried that AOS will be cancelled :(
@LittleMsMuffet730-As has been pointed out for various reasons in other ratings thread,s it's in no real danger for a few reasons. At a most basic level it should be fine as it's still ABC's highest rated show of the night most weeks.
Don't be worried, LittleMsMuffet. I'm 99% sure it will get a 3rd season and in the US if a show gets a 3rd the 4th almost always follows for syndication reasons. Don't worry, be happy. ABC hasn't had a scripted drama perform this well with men in several years.
IrrationaliTV, always cool, calm, and rational. If not for you, we'd all be busy preparing baskets of food for our impending picnics.
Ha! Thanks, bobw1o. The sky is probably falling but it is falling equally across all networks so it's all about ratings in relation to other shows and time periods. No set rules anymore. Mostly gut decisions and ABC isn't going to cancel a Marvel property that brings men 18-34 to the party. No how. No way. However, I'll go out on a very secure limb and guess that Forever and whatever the fuck that ridiculous show leading in to AOS are complete toast.
@IrrationaliTV Could you give a ballpark average on how much of the L+SD for scripted shows like AoS etc. is not live ? Also how much has it changed in the last few years?
I'm not sure I understand the question. L+SD is by definition is Live. Ish. Basically the people who watch the show by 3am the next day. It's dropped like a rock in the last few years. Plummeted. With an anchor. Across the board. All shows except sports and live award shows.

It's late. You're asking about not live. It easily doubles for L3 and then probably adds another 20 to 30% for L +7

[ edited by IrrationaliTV on 2015-04-02 08:51 ]
Sorry I'll be clearer. L+SD as I understand it includes all DVR viewing finished by 3 am the day after broadcast. What I was
asking is how much of the L+SD is actually DVR viewing. I am sensing that it is a lot bigger than I would have thought until
yesterday. Also I was given to think in the Adweek article that this portion of DVR viewing was subject to extreme ad hopping.

[ edited by JDL on 2015-04-02 09:31 ]
It might not be the right place to discuss this, but I just realized how unusual the structure of "Agents of SHIELD" is. It has 5 commercial breaks, but an episode has a teaser + 5 acts + end tag .

Most network shows today are 6 acts, or a teaser + 5 acts. Buffy was a teaser + 4 acts (4 commercial breaks). Dollhouse had 5 or 6 acts.

It must be pretty challenging for the writers to write all these different structures. I know Joss talked about it when he had to adapt himself for Dollhouse.
Thank you @IrrationaliTV, its really kind of you to respond :)
To put into perspective how badly network TV ratings have crashed in recent years, check out this list of the final ratings for the 1994 season.

"VR.5" got a 5.6 rating, which is about equal to today's top scripted network show, "Empire." But VR.5 was 129th in ratings that year, considered a huge flop, and cancelled after half a season. (Although that did free up Mr. Anthony Stewart Head to take on a new role a couple seasons later...)

If you'd told network execs back then that 20 years later, shows would be getting renewed with 1.5 ratings, they'd probably head for the nearest bridge and jump off it.
Any guesses where AoS will be on the schedule next season? It's not so hot where it is but that might be the only spot for it. They won't break Wednesdays comedy block or Thursdays Shondaland. Sundays would kill it with sports and award shows and would probably mean separating it from Agent Carter, which I don't think they'd want to do as it'd break Marvel synergy and ABC needs a stable show for Jan/Feb. And cable would probably kill it on Sundays at 9 PM it'd be up against both TWD and GoT. (ABC is not moving OUAT off 8 PM as it's a stable anchor for the night).

Fridays at 8 PM perhaps? It could get away with smaller ratings there and the rest of the night is already stable with Shark Tank and then news with 20/20, so it would plug the hole in the night.

[ edited by Dusk on 2015-04-02 15:48 ]
Great stuff AndrewCrossett - while I understand the changes over the past two decades, it IS jarring to see "Platypus Man" on UPN drawing twice the audience of a show like SHIELD today.

To Dusk's point - I really don't see them moving SHIELD, maybe just a greater effort around trying to find a decent lead in. It seems everything they're put in the slot just prior has been averaging less than a 1.0 all year. Also don't seem them doubling down on a full season of Agent Carter - hopefully they at least find it feasible to give it a second "mini-series" arc
True TallMichaelJ it's lead-in is not helping. I honestly don't know how The CW got the rights to Whose Line Is It Anyway away from ABC, you'd think a bigger network would want a low-cost show with a built in fanbase to plug a hole in the schedule when needed.

I don't see them pushing Carter to 22 episodes, or even 13. I don't know if the writers/Marvel/Atwell would be comfortable with that much of a commitment. They've all stated how much they love only being 8 episodes long. And extending it would mean moving it away from SHIELD. I think ABC learned it's lesson from the failed OUAT Wonderland show, you don't put shows set in the same universe on different nights. (The Flash being an exception to this as it started off stronger then anyone would have guessed).
JDL, I've never seen a report break out the commercial viewing percentage of L+ SD. It might exist but I've never seen it, just C3 and that as a % of L+3 can be all over the map. There is no formula or "one easy trick" to interpreting the data. That's why I'm always saying the L+ SD numbers are meaningless to fans trying to guess as to the fate of a show.

20 years ago there wasn't 600+ original dramas/comedies/reality shows on every year to fragment the audience into tiny tiny pieces. That's the reality today. The pie is much much bigger but everyone's slice is much smaller. There is no "fix" to that. It just is.
These days I mainly check in to be sure IrrationalTV isn't worried.
I think Agent Carter works perfectly as a British Format show... do 8 episodes with a self-contained story, and then come back in a little while and do another 8. Repeat until people get sick of it. I hope we get another season of AC in the hiatus next year.

But ABC really does need to throw the dice and get another good genre show in that lead-in spot. Not necessarily another superhero show or Marvel show. If they were smart, they'd ask Joss for advice and recommendations.
ABC has no genre pilots this year so I don't think that is going to happen.
I think breaking up Shondaland is something ABC should consider. The viewers will go wherever they put the shows and they could use it to help the rest of their lineup. Scandal at 9 and shield at 10 on Tuesdays would be awesome

[ edited by kantgitrite101 on 2015-04-02 18:55 ]
These days I mainly check in to be sure IrrationalTV isn't worried.

If ABC really is going for a male-skewing viewership with AoS, then giving it a Shonda Rimes show as a lead-in probably wouldn't work. But AoS is an action show with a very strong female presence in the cast/story, so they might want to bite the bullet and try to increase audience by bringing in more female viewers.
Now, I'm gonna feel bad if I've led you all down the garden path. :)

But here is the thing, Inhumans opens on 7/12/19. Leading up to that AoS will have had its 6th season finale. If you count up all the studio revenue streams needed to pay for the show in total including ad revenue from ratings there might be a small shortfall. Might, maybe the show is in the black. That possible small shortfall will be a drop in the bucket compared to the marketing value (in the hundreds of millions of $) of the show in increased awareness of "what the hell is this Inhuman thing?"

If you are Disney/Marvel/ABC you see the marketing value of AoS to the MCU way beyond the usual analysis for a show airing in the 9pm slot on Tuesday nights on ABC. I'm not Disney/Marvel/ABC but I see that value as clear as day.YMMV
ABC Thursdays at 8 PM were a black hole for years until very recently. I personally don't think they'd break that and end their new Thursday marketing campaign with Shondaland having done well for them.

A less likely option is Monday, but it wouldn't really mesh with Dancing With the Stars in terms of audience or genre so I doubt it. My bet is it either stays where it is or goes to Fridays at 8 PM.
I don't think it will move again. On Friday they would lose much of the male demo so that seems like a non starter. I just can't see an alternative at this point.
These days I mainly check in to be sure IrrationalTV isn't worried.

Me too.

So @IrrationaliTV, do you think we will get another Agent Carter mini?
I hope so, hann23, but it is a much harder sell. But then I bet it is a much cheaper show. I think it is 50/50 and will come down to how many of ABC's pilots currently filming are home runs. If too many are iffy then they would be more inclined to renew Agent Carter. It will probably go down to the wire and we won't know for another 4 to 5 weeks.
@IrrationaliTV Why would Agent Carter be competing with other ABC pilots ? Those are usually designed for the 22 episode format. AC
is a limited series so I would think that would mean its "competition" would be different limited series or reruns of something or the other.
Not necessarily, JDL. Schedules can be shifted around or pilots can turn into a short order of episodes. Another limited series or reruns are not the only choices. The variations of possibilities are quite numerous.
I "think" I have finally figured out something; why Hulu and ABC.Com viewing within 3 days won't be counted in the ratings.
While at present knowing who exactly is watching is spotty, that can be remedied so I don't think that is really a long term problem.

IrrationaliTV mentioned above that VoD now counts in the ratings. Obviously then if advertisers are willing to pay for
streamed content then its not streaming that is the problem. So whats the difference between VoD and the other 2 streamed
sources ? I can come up with two; 1) VoD is provided by your friend and theirs, the cable company, and 2) VoD has local ads
that the other two don't.

I "think" that this boils down to an affiliate relations problem. The networks or their proxies like Hulu must not do things
that make the local stations feel like they are being undercut. Its possible that running just the same national ads on a show
but none of the local ads on a streaming service like Hulu might make the affiliate think that that is happening. Without the
ads being the same you can't use any of the viewing numbers for ratings of any sort. If there is a cheap and easy way out of
this conundrum I can't see it.

Of course if the ad rates for streaming are comparable to live it doesn't matter but I don't think they are.
It's about keeping the revenue streams happy. Revenue comes from the advertisers, the cable companies, and the local stations. Some networks are now selling packages to advertisers that include broadcast, VOD and web/streaming. They all matter as long as the viewer is watching the ads. Authenticated streaming matters (on cable) because networks don't want to upset the cable companies because they pay a lot of money to air the programming.
Interesting. Sounds like I was close, although I had not considered keeping the cable companies happy being as important as you are saying.

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