'Grey's Anatomy' Season Finale Soars With Multplatform Viewing

The ABC drama quadrupled its initial 18-49 rating after five weeks of playback from linear and digital sources.
ABC/Kelsey McNeal
'Grey's Anatomy'

Grey's Anatomy finished its season earlier than expected due to the coronavirus pandemic. It followed its usual pattern, however, of adding a ton of audience via delayed and digital viewing.

The ABC drama more than quadrupled its initial rating among adults 18-49 over five weeks of multiplatform viewing and more than doubled its total audience. The 35-day figures for the show are the best since its season premiere in September.

The April 9 finale of Grey's Anatomy drew 7.33 million viewers, a same-day season high, and a 1.4 rating in the key ad demographic of adults 18-49, tied for the second best of the season. After five weeks, those numbers rose to 16.5 million viewers — a gain of about 9.2 million people, or 125 percent — and a 5.98 rating in the 18-49 demographic, more than four times the initial number.

Those gains track with the show's multiplatform numbers for the season as a whole. With five weeks of viewing across platforms, Grey's Anatomy averaged a 5.92 rating among adults 18-49 and 15.7 million viewers, gains of 366 percent in the demo and 152 percent in total viewers from its same-day averages (1.27 in adult 18-49, 6.24 million viewers). 

While the same-day tallies represent less than half of the show's 35-day audience, most of the finale's audience watched within three days (as is usually the case with delayed viewing). Per ABC, after three days of multiplatform playback, the episode had risen to 13.1 million viewers and a 4.22 rating in the 18-49 demographic.

Nielsen's three-day figures, which account for DVR viewing but not that on Hulu, ABC's app or other platforms, had the finale at 9.85 million viewers and a 2.3 rating in the demo. That means digital platforms accounted for about 3.25 million total viewers and almost 45 percent of the 18-49 rating over three days. The remaining four-plus weeks added 3.4 million more viewers and 1.76 points to its 18-49 rating.

With digital platforms included, Grey's Anatomy is ABC's top-rated and most-watched show of the 2019-20 season.