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Viewers for broadcast TV haven’t necessarily gone away, but they have drastically shifted their viewing habits.
The network’s three Thursday dramas — Station 19, Grey’s Anatomy and Big Sky — accumulated nearly a third of their total audiences from streaming and other digital platforms, per data from Nielsen and ABC. Among adults under 50, well over half the three shows’ premiere ratings was from digital sources.
So while even in the multiplatform measures, Grey’s Anatomy is off some from its premiere two years ago, the difference is significantly smaller than at first blush. After its initial airing, Grey’s had fallen off by about 27 percent in total viewers compared to 2019 (6.51 million to 4.77 million). In adults 18-49 the drop was steeper: a 1.5 rating to a 0.77, or -49 percent.
After 35 days and across all platforms, the Grey’s Anatomy premiere sits at 14.2 million viewers and a 4.74 rating in adults 18-49, per ABC, having more than tripled its same-day viewer total and increased its demo rating by more than six times. It’s also closed the viewer gap somewhat on 2019: Its 35-day totals are down about 14 percent in viewers and 27 percent in adults 18-49 versus two years ago.
Nielsen’s 35-day ratings, which don’t include streaming, have Grey’s Anatomy at 8.46 million viewers and a 1.7 in the 18-49 demo, meaning about 40 percent of the season premiere’s cross-platform total viewers, and 64 percent of its 18-49 audience, streamed the episode.
Big Sky hit 11.1 million viewers and a 2.16 demo rating with 35 days across all platforms, getting about 31 percent of its total viewers and more than half its 18-49 audience via digital (it reached 7.95 million viewers and a 1.0 in adults 18-49 in the Nielsen numbers). Of Station 19‘s total viewership of 9.9 million, 24 percent comes from digital platforms, and its 2.34 in adults 18-49 is 44 percent via digital.
ABC’s comedy The Wonder Years, meanwhile, also got more 40 percent of its premiere audience via digital platforms (8 million, from 4.55 million in Nielsen’s 35-day ratings) and increased its 18-49 rating by a factor of 2.5 (1.0 to 2.56).
A similar story is playing out at other networks that have released multi-platform numbers — which, as with other streaming figures, tend to be selective. Fox’s 911 season premiere grew to 13.7 million viewers over 35 days, with just under 30 percent of that total via streaming and the Fox Now app. Animated series Family Guy (6.52 million viewers) and Bob’s Burgers (5.23 million) gathered more than half of their viewers off air. Six of Fox’s 12 entertainment series, in fact, more than doubled their same-day viewership in the 35-day, cross-platform tallies.
NBC hasn’t broken out 35-day figures for its rookie series La Brea. In announcing the drama’s renewal, however, the network noted that over a somewhat longer 45-day period, it had grown to 19.8 million viewers — more than tripling its same-day average.
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