New data from fall TV season shows significant shift in how TV is being consumed

Consumer behavior has shifted significantly during the 2015 fall season, according to a new study, calling into question the validity and value of Live+7 ratings, and providing new insight into Fox’s just announced decision to abandon overnight ratings for its non-sports programming.

Based on TV program demographic targeting, networks with young-adult program, such as FOX and CW, saw the most viewing time spent outside of traditional currency (Live/DVR7/VOD3), said Symphony Advanced Media (SymphonyAM). Nearly 25% of all Millennial viewing time was driven by OTT, with Fox viewers gravitating to VOD viewing, whereas CBS viewers, who skew older, had the highest Live and DVR7 viewing.

Cross-media consumption data on the mid-Fall television season suggest that Millennials watch live TV just 30% of the time, relying heavily on Hulu for time-shifted network programming. SymphonyAM posits that average audience rating (AA) per episode can increase more than 50% the Live+7 when measuring for Live+35.

“With a growing number of viewers using new platforms to access our programming, it’s key to our success that we understand new consumption behaviors,” said Colleen Fahey Rush, EVP and Chief Research Officer of Viacom Media Networks.

SymphonyAM also found that – with Hulu redirecting CBS’s primetime viewers to the CBS website – the Eye Network’s app and website saw approximately double the share of viewing duration than those of other broadcast networks’ streaming channels.

The largest impact, however, appears to be with VoD viewing, which includes programming accessed through a multichannel-video-programming-distributor (MVPD) set-top box and a provider’s app or website.

The top 20 episodes’ audience rating from L+SD to Live35 Days across all platforms among Millennials saw an average increase of 38% ratings growth after L7 Days. ABC and FOX were impacted most, with more shows on the list, including three episodes of Quantico and four episodes of Brooklyn Nine-Nine.

The premiere of Quantico showed the highest rating increase representing more than 50% growth from L7 to L35.

“Consumers watch programs across multiple platforms and devices beyond the seven-day viewing window, and this trend is accelerating,” said Charles Buchwalter, President and CEO of SymphonyAM. “Armed with this data, networks and advertisers can now engage consumers in novel ways.”

Stay tuned.

Jim O’Neill is Editor of Videomind and Principal Analyst at Brightcove. You can follow him on Twitter @JimONeillMedia and on LinkedIn