Grey's Anatomy, Scandal and Once Upon a Time: Is the Split-Season Plan Working Thus Far?
Grey’s opened Season 10 with a 3.4 demo rating, soon settled in at around a 2.8, and with Episode 11 did a 2.7. (The “dent” you see at Episode 10 was opposite NBC’s well-watched Sound of Music Live!.) From beginning to midseason, that represents an erosion of 21 percent….
… Which is better than how the first half of Season 9 fared. Opening with a 4.4 rating, by Episode 11 Grey’s had slipped to a 3.0 — or 32 percent erosion (again, versus Season 10’s 21 percent).
Now, let’s take a look at the DVR bumps….
Though advertisers pay little mind to Live+7 DVR playback, it’s worth observing that Grey’s this season saw the average demo rating for the first half rise from a 2.7 to 4.5 — or a 68 percent boost. The first half of Season 9 averaged just a 51 percent DVR bump.
And lastly, just to be a completist: In total audience, the first half of Grey’s Season 10 has averaged 8.7 million “live” viewers, with just 10 percent erosion from premiere to midseason finale. DVR playback meanwhile delivered a 46 percent boost in audience versus Season 9’s 38 percent.
CONCLUSION | Grey’s split season thus far is working, with milder erosion and more people making a point to fire up the DVR.
Next up: Scandal….
Scandal‘s an interesting case in that its Season 3 numbers are higher than Season 2, since it entered the fall with a stupendous amount of buzz. Thus, the challenge here was holding onto those numbers as much as possible. The premiere drew a 3.6 rating, Episodes 4 through 8 settled in around 2.9, and the winter finale netted a 3.2. So, from beginning to midseason, Pope & Associates saw 11 percent erosion.
Again, Season 2 was on fah, steadily rising from a 2.1 rating with its premiere to a 2.8, come Episode 10 — aka a 33 percent increase. That said, the “non-stop” first half of this season is averaging a 3.1 versus a 2.2 for the first 10 episodes of Season 2.
Let’s now fold in the DVR numbers….
With Live+7 DVR playback, Scandal thus far this season is enjoying a 51 percent boost — compared to the 40 percent bump the first stretch of its sophomore run saw.
In total audience, Scandal thus far this season is averaging 9.1 million viewers (versus 6.7 mil for the first 10 episodes of Season 2). And with DVR playback, the drama is currently enjoying a 42 percent bump (versus last year’s 36 percent).
CONCLUSION | Coming off such a hot sophomore run, Scandal has probably performed as steadily as anyone could have hoped.
Finally, Once Upon a Time….
With just one week of interruption (for an awards show), Once’s “non-stop” Season 3A averaged a 2.2 rating, experiencing 27 percent erosion from the premiere (which scored a 2.6) to Episode 11 (1.9). How does that compare to the first half of last season…?
Season 2 (in red) meanwhile went from a 3.9 rating (with its premiere) to a 2.8 (Episode 11) — or 29 percent erosion, and while delivering five weeks’ worth of preemptions (including a month-long winter break).
Live+7 DVR playback so far this season is giving Once‘s numbers a 55 percent boost, lifting the average demo rating from a 2.2 to a 3.4. (The first 11 episodes of Season 2, meanwhile, got a 42 percent DVR bump.)
And now, total audience. Once this season is averaging 7.2 million total viewers, rising to 9.7 mil with DVR playback (aka a 35 percent increase). The first half of Season 2 meanwhile saw a 31 percent gain with DVR playback, from 9.5 mil to 12.5 mil.
CONCLUSION | Though Once is enjoying a mildly steadier season, ABC probably hoped to see ratings retention more commensurate with the show’s creative momentum. Can the Wicked Witch work her magic and dispatch her flying monkeys to more Nielsen households? Time will tell.