'The Bachelor' Premiere Scores 2-Year High With Digital Viewing

The Bachelor - Peter Weber - Publicity Still 2 - H 2019

Hannah Brown arriving at the Bachelor Mansion on Weber's first night.

Add The Bachelor to the list of network series getting a big lift from digital viewing.

The Jan. 6 premiere of the long-running ABC unscripted series nearly doubled its initial audience after five weeks of multiplatform viewing, according to figures from Nielsen and the network. It also gathered more than twice as many viewers in the key ad demographic of adults 18-49 and marked the show's most-watched episode in two years — since the 2018 season debut.

"The Bachelor franchise is a great example of how broadcast can create a cultural dialogue that both resonates and entertains,” said Rob Mills, senior vp alternative series, specials and late night at ABC. "We are overjoyed with the continued success of the series, and will be watching along with the rest of Bachelor Nation as Peter’s journey continues to unfold."

The show's season premiere drew a 1.9 rating in the 18-49 demo and about 6.1 million viewers for its first airing, improving to 2.4 and 7.52 million after three days of delayed viewing as measured by Nielsen (ABC, for its part, no longer tracks same-day ratings). Even within those three days, people who watched on digital platforms had a noticeable effect on ratings. Adding them to the Nielsen three-day figure gave The Bachelor premiere a 3.47 rating in adults 18-49 and 9.6 million viewers.

With a week of delayed and digital viewing, the premiere rose to a 4.21 in the demo and 10.6 million viewers. After 35 days, it stands at 4.96 in adults 18-49 — more than double its initial Nielsen rating (and the three-day figure as well) — and 12 million viewers, a 60 percent bump from the Nielsen three-day total and a 98 percent improvement on the same-day viewership.

The 12 million multiplatform viewers over 35 days is a 19 percent improvement on last year's premiere, which had 10.1 million viewers after five weeks. In both total viewers and adults 18-49, The Bachelor scored its largest multiplatform audience since Jan. 1, 2018.

Nielsen's 35-day ratings, meanwhile, put the season premiere at a 2.7 rating in adults 18-49 and 8.1 million viewers. That means The Bachelor got 46 percent of its 35-day 18-49 rating and about a third of its total viewers from digital platforms.

Those figures track with some of the other (limited) multiplatform data networks have released. The percentage of The Bachelor's total 35-day viewing that comes from nonlinear sources is in line with that of the season premiere for fellow ABC stalwart Grey's Anatomy (37 percent) and ahead of shows like NBC's This Is Us (26 percent) and Fox's The Masked Singer (23 percent) and 911 (24 percent). 

Similarly, The Bachelor's all-in 18-49 rating is similar in its linear/digital split to those of the premieres for This Is Us (41.5 percent digital), ABC's Stumptown (44 percent) and NBC's Law & Order: SVU (45 percent). 

The Bachelor, like The Masked Singer, is something of an outlier among unscripted shows in that it brings in bigger delayed-viewing numbers than most of its counterparts. It's very much of a piece, however, with the trend toward viewing where and when audiences want it.