TV Long View: 'Good Girls' and 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist' Are Very Online

The two NBC dramas are prime examples of the way viewing habits have shifted, with substantial portions of their audiences coming on digital platforms.
NBC
'Good Girls' (left), 'Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist'

The initial ratings numbers for NBC's Sunday dramas, Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist and Good Girls, are pretty ordinary. They're not all that good.

The two shows are, however, prime examples of the shift in viewing habits that is occurring in television. Nielsen's linear ratings for both series are only a fraction of their total audiences.

The two are averaging about a 0.4 rating among adults 18-49 (0.44 for Zoey's, 0.43 for Good Girls) for their initial airings. Zoey's averages 2.13 million total viewers, and Good Girls draws 1.87 million people.

Per Nielsen and NBC figures, though, both multiply substantially with delayed and digital viewing. As of March 1, Good Girls is more than doubling its 18-49 rating in Nielsen's seven-day figures (growing to 0.9) and adds more than 1.6 million viewers, an 88 percent jump. Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, with one more episode to its credit, grows a little slower but still posts gains of 40 percent in adults 18-49 and 49 percent in viewers.

On digital platforms, they take off even more. The first two episodes of Good Girls double yet again over their Nielsen seven-day numbers when a week of viewing on Hulu and NBC's digital platforms are added — to an average of 1.95 in adults 18-49. The network noted that since its debut, the Feb. 16 season premiere has more than tripled in viewers (2 million to 6.2 million) and increased its 18-49 rating by almost six times (0.4 to 2.3).

Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist, meanwhile, grows by an additional 86 percent in the demo with a week of multiplatform viewing, to a 1.3 over its first three episodes. In the 17 days since it aired, the show's first Sunday episode has quadrupled in adults 18-49.

Those digital ratings are also incomplete: Hulu, NBC.com and the NBC app are likely the three biggest sources of digital viewing, but the network measures 11 other platforms as well.

NBC has also touted the reach of Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist on YouTube, where the full pilot episode was available for several weeks after its Jan. 7 debut. It racked up more than 40 million views over six weeks — but a "view" in YouTube's metrics is only 30 seconds, scarcely more than 1 percent of a 42-minute episode of television.

A source tells The Hollywood Reporter, though, that 3.5 million people watched the entire Zoey's pilot on YouTube — almost as many as the 3.71 million measured by Nielsen over seven days. The average length of viewing for the pilot on YouTube was about eight minutes.

Good Girls and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist are the most digital-heavy dramas on NBC this season, the network says, each drawing better than 40 percent of their all-in, seven-day ratings from nontraditional platforms. Universal TV, which produces Good Girls, also licenses the show to Netflix, where it is said to rank fairly high among the streamer's acquired series. (Netflix doesn't publicly share detailed viewing data.)

All of the above serves to explain how Good Girls is in its third season, with episode counts that have grown each year, despite finishing tied for 107th (of 146 broadcast-network shows) in adults 18-49 and 114th in total viewers in same-day ratings for 2018-19.

Those same-day figures — a 0.56 rating in adults 18-49 and 2.32 million viewers — represented less than a quarter of the show's long-tail (beyond 35 days) multiplatform audience in the 18-49 demo (2.6, per NBC) and only about a third of its eventual 6.8 million viewers. Early returns on Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist suggest it is building a similar profile.

If one or both shows are renewed for the 2020-21 season, they will be picked up with same-day rankings in a similar range. As much as any network show currently airing, however, Good Girls and Zoey's Extraordinary Playlist illustrate how that first number no longer tells a complete story.

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