Television's busiest number-crunchers at TV by the Numbers have released their list of the most-recorded shows in America, with ABC's Modern Family leading the pack. Shows like House, The Event and Supernatural got a significant bump in addition to first-run ratings.
Recorded episodes are making up a bigger and bigger chunk of the television audience, and the trend has been consistent for the 2010-1011 season.
For example, Modern Family scored an average of 11.2 million viewers for every live episode, plus 3.5 million DVR viewers - a whopping 31% increase.
The landscape of television continues to shift as more and more homes are equipped with place-shifting DVRs. While most of the shows in the top 20 aren't in serious danger of cancellation, the ratings bump from DVR viewers in the first seven days after a live episode do show a shift in the viewing habits of television fans
Without further ado, here's the top 20 DVR'd shows by total gains in viewership:
1. Modern Family - 11.2 million live viewers, 3.5 million DVR viewers, +31%
2. Hawaii Five-0 - 10.9 million live viewers, 3.6 million DVR viewers, +30%
3. The Mentalist - 14.5 million live viewers, 3.0 million DVR viewers, +21%
4. Grey's Anatomy - 11.3 million live viewers, 2.9 million DVR viewers, +26%
5. Glee - 10.9 million live viewers, 2.7 million DVR viewers, +25%
6. Criminal Minds - 13.6 million live viewers, 2.6 million DVR viewers, +19%
7. NCIS - 19.7 million live viewers, 2.5 million DVR viewers, +13%
8. Castle - 10.7 million live viewers, 2.5 million DVR viewers, +24%
9. House - 10.0 million live viewers, 2.5 million DVR viewers, +25%
10. Blue Bloods - 11.3 million live viewers, 2.5 million DVR viewers, +22%
11. Body of Proof - 11.2 million live viewers, 2.4 million DVR viewers, +22%
12. CSI - 13.3 million live viewers, 2.3 million DVR viewers, +17%
13. The Big Bang Theory - 12.6 million live viewers, 2.3 million DVR viewers, +18%
14. American Idol (Wednesday) - 24.0 million live viewers, 2.3 million DVR viewers, +9%
15. The Good Wife - 11.8 million live viewers, 2.3 million DVR viewers, +19%
16. Bones - 10 million live viewers, 2.3 million DVR viewers, + 22%
17. Harry's Law - 9.4 million live viewers, 2.2 million DVR viewers, +24%
18. The Office - 7.3 million live viewers, 2.2 million DVR viewers, + 30%
19. NCIS: Los Angeles - 16.2 million live viewers, 2.2 million DVR viewers, +13%
20. Private Practice - 7.6 million live viewers, 2.0 million DVR viewers, +26%
And here's the top 10 percentage gainers in the key 18-49 demographic:
1. Fringe - 1.6 million live viewers, .9 million DVR viewers, +56%
2. Chase (Saturday) - .6 million live viewers, .3 million DVR viewers, +50%
3. The Good Guys - .7 million live viewers, .3 million DVR viewers, +43%
4. The Event - 1.7 million live viewers, .7 million DVR viewers, +41%
5. Supernatural - 1.0 million live viewers, .4 million DVR viewers, +40%
6. Outlaw (Saturday) - .5 million live viewers, .2 million DVR viewers, +40%
7. Parenthood - 2.1 million live viewers, .8 million DVR viewers, + 38%
8. Hawaii Five-0 - 2.9 million live viewers, 1.1 million DVR viewers, +38%
9. Modern Family - 4.5 million live viewers, 1.7 million DVR viewers, +38%
10. Friday Night Lights - .8 million live viewers, .3 million DVR viewers, +38%
As you can see, a lot of struggling shows have huge portions of their audience recording live episodes, like Fringe with over half its numbers coming from DVR viewers. And a lot of the most-DVR'd shows have been cancelled, including Chase and The Event. The reasoning is simple: recorded viewers are less valuable than live viewers, because they have the ability to skip commercials - i.e. the things that are paying for the shows themselves.
Even though DVR information is being made available to TV networks and ratings tabulators, the industry has to yet to develop a way to provide a monetary return for those DVRing their favorite show - especially with 80% of non-live viewers skipping through the commercials. Remember, if one of your favorite shows is teetering on the brink of cancellation, a small but meaningful step that you and other fans can take is to watch it live.
Follow Michael on Twitter: @MichaelCrider
Source: TV by the Numbers