This question has been asked a lot over the past few seasons, as â€œSupernaturalâ€ ratings have declined (and The CWâ€™s). Are less people watching?
Created on Wednesday, 25 April 2012 18:14
Last Updated on Sunday, 09 June 2013 22:44
Written by Alice Jester
In an article I put up on TV For The Rest of Us, I covered in detail a recent Wall Street Journal article that stated among other things, that twenty percent of CW viewers are now watching online. Thatâ€™s more than any other network. On top of that, â€œSupernaturalâ€ at least in the 18-49 demo has been seeing over fifty percent increases (and often higher) when DVR + 7 has been factored in.
A great site to discuss such topics is TV By The Numbers One of the frequent commenters there decided to do the math recently on â€œSupernatural.â€ This comment was posted on the TV For The Rest of Us article, so I don't have the original link. The person who wrote this goes by the name of Mark Wood on TV By The Numbers:
"As of two weeks ago, SPN originals have averaged 2.5 million viewers in live plus 7. We also now know thanks to the Wall Street Journal that 20% of the total audience for the CW is watching online. Not a twenty percent increase, but 20% of the total audience. And they say it's doubled what it was last year.
Now of course thatâ€™s across the board, meaning some shows will have had larger then 20% of its total audience being online, and some will have less. Without specific show data, all we can do is make educated estimates.
For example, with an average of 2.5 million means that for most of the season that online push means that its actual overall audience would be around 2.9 million.
Considering that back 6 years ago in April the first year of the CW with all viewing options SPN would have got a 3.4. 3.4 and in 6 years a 2.9 in viewers. That really highlights that the numbers we see weekly for SPN are more impacted by the change in how people view shows, than the loss of SPNâ€™s audience.
The CW more than any network is losing higher percentages to both DVRâ€™s and to online viewing (that network 20% is the highest of the broadcast networks) and are more likely to be in adults 18-34.
In fact, you can use info like this for any show to track actual audience erosion year to year. Now all that is good for, is basically tracking the migration of viewers, and to track a show's general audience.
Doesnâ€™t mean that a show has the same revenue potential that it would have had years ago with higher numbers. Not at all."
If you look at our ratings chart for all seasons on this site, DVR ratings werenâ€™t tracked in season two. There certainly werenâ€™t any online options then, so live figures is all we have. In April, our chart shows that was a 3.3 million average. Season three in April came back from the writerâ€™s strike with only 2.2 million viewers and a 2.73 million on DVR. It did recover to an average with DVR of 3.2 million in May. In season four, live ratings in April averaged around 3 million, and numbers were around 3.6 million with DVR (going off of season averages). In season five the live average was around 2.6 million, and there were no DVR figures available to the public, but going by earlier season averages in DVR the total was likely 3.2 million. By this time online viewing was still minimal, although iTunes was gaining some steam. It still wasnâ€™t much though.
Going by the Wall Street Journal article, whichstated online viewing for The CW is double now from last year, ten percent of viewers were watching online last April. Viewership hovered at around 2 million live this time last year. DVR was only bumping up the total 33%. Increase that two million by another ten percent, weâ€™re at about 2.9 million. According to the calculations in the comment above, thatâ€™s were we stand in season seven as well (although Iâ€™m getting 3 million, but we wonâ€™t quibble over .1). Just for fun, the average number of viewers for season one in April on The WB? 3.6 million.
So what does all this mean? Perhaps Supernatural isnâ€™t eroding as quickly was we think in terms of viewership. Without sound figures though publicly available in all areas, itâ€™s guessing, just like Mark Wood said. Still, itâ€™s fun to approximate, and this is the first time Iâ€™ve heard of any online viewing numbers.
So what do you think? Are you finding these numbers encouraging, or are shifts in the way weâ€™re watching not good for the show?