Christmastime is one big lump of coal in terms of viewership
Networks aren’t finding many TV viewers in their stockings this week. Or below their Christmas trees, or on any couches across America, for that matter.
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That’s because this week, the one with the Yuletide smack dab in the middle of it, typically sees the lowest television usage of the entire traditional September-to-May Nielsen season. Merry Christmas, TV execs.
Christmas week last year, which spanned Dec. 24, 2018 to Dec. 30, 2018, had a total usage of televisions (TUT) level of 59.70. That means during an average primetime minute, 59.70% of homes were watching TV programming on either linear or digital platforms. That’s low.
(By the way, in case you’re wondering, NBC won Christmas week 2018 in both the key adults 18-49 demographic and among total viewers. Best network of the worst week, we suppose. Congratulations?)
Low, yes, but most summer weeks tend to be even lower, with the absolute lightest week of the past few years surrounding the Fourth of July holiday. (Continuing to make lemonade out of lemons, NBC also won that one outright in Summer 2019. Cue — and thank — the fireworks.)
What’s interesting is that while we regularly see drops in TV tune-in during the holidays and in the summer, viewership on digital platforms actually increases, as those stretches become ideal times for viewers to catch up on series.
Been doing some binge-viewing this week, readers? “Ozark” is a good one, though maybe a bit dark for this time of year.
There is more good news for networks in the form of a light at the end of this dark tunnel. The highest TV tune-in of last season came shortly after the holidays, when America churned out a 65.16 (65.16% of homes watching television programming across multiple platforms) for the week of Jan. 7, 2019 to Jan. 13, 2019. Yes, that may seem like an underwhelming change from polar-opposite week, but it makes a big difference — just ask advertisers.
Sorry, NBC, that TV-heavy week was won by Fox, which aired Episode 2 of its first “Masked Singer” season back then. Perhaps you’ve heard, that show’s a big hit, one that is currently delivering Fox the kind of goodies only Santa Claus normally does this time of year.
Considering “The Masked Singer” Season 2 wrapped last Wednesday and Season 3 won’t bow until after Feb. 2’s Super Bowl LIV, a repeat may not happen for Fox in the weeks following this one — when all networks air a bunch of repeats.
But we can still wish a Happy (almost) New Year to all TV channels, as their regular audiences are right around the corner.
10 Highest-Rated TV Specials of 2019: From Hostless Oscars to 'Little Mermaid Live' (Photos)
- Photo by Terry Wyatt/Getty Images
- Photo by Kevin Winter/Getty Images for dcp
- ABC/Mitch Haaseth
- Peter Kramer/NBC
The Emmys missed the cut this year, but the rest of these did not
With increased competition and a general downward trend in live viewing, television specials tend to feel, well, less special with each passing year. There are still quite a few annual must-see live-TV hours -- and no, we're not even talking about sports (for this one).
From the Oscars to the Emmys and everything toward the top, TheWrap ranked the 10 highest-rated broadcast-television entertainment specials of 2019. All numbers in this story come from Nielsen's Live + Same Day data set and measures adults 18-49, the demographic most sought after by advertisers on entertainment programming.
Thanks to ABC's "The Little Mermaid Live," we've got a musical on the list again this year. We declined to include the Oscars red carpet half-hours this time around, as they would bump a few standalone specials from the Top 10.