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Fox is always trying to cancel something, am I right? Luckily in this case, it isn’t a fan-favorite show that the network is getting rid of, but rather the way it reports its numbers about fan-favorite shows. Fox has become the first broadcast network to announce that it will no longer go public with its shows’ live-plus-same-day ratings.
Is this a shameful face-hiding or just the way times are changing? The network would like everyone to know that it’s the latter, and that the execs there understand that TV culture has moved beyond the old standard of success merely being measured during the night that something airs. The world has fully embraced DVR, On Demand, and Internet streaming, and that makes up a huge chunk of how people enjoy their favorite shows these days. So Fox doesn’t feel the need to get those overnight numbers out to everyone anymore.
Now, Fox is basically abandoning the same day numbers for scripted comedies and dramas. Live specials and sports events are still major draws for audiences to tune into during the initial airtime. But those are relatively few and far between as compared to most primetime fare.
According to THR, Fox execs Gary Newman and Dana Walden say that over a third of today’s modern audiences in the key 18-49 demographic are taking in their broadcast viewing in the days following an episode’s initial airing. Furthermore, some Fox shows see their audience numbers double over a 30-day window, and that percentage is only rising as time goes by. (Some people don’t even like to get into a TV season until it’s all available for binge-viewing, which has to skew things.) As well, the network’s advertising plans are more based on a +7 basis than just same day, so it makes complete sense for them to officially shift over.
Fox is currently #3 in the Big 4 (or the Big 5, if you’re counting The CW), and perhaps once all networks shift over to this extended viewing span, that number could change. Though it seems inevitable for all networks, both broadcast and cable, to eventually follow this path, it’s unclear when that move will happen. Shows that attract huge same day audiences, such as Game of Thrones and The Walking Dead, are good ways for networks to brag about things, so it likely won’t happen all at once.
Fox definitely isn’t the first network to make this change. FX president John Landgraf made the official jump last year, and other networks like AMC and USA have also signed on. In the end, it’s not as if same day numbers for Fox (or anyone else) are disappearing completely. Nielsen ratings will still be available for viewing, but Fox won’t be promoting them. Does this sound like progress to you guys?