Rick Kissell over at Variety has an interesting piece on how FX is handling the ratings numbers for their new series The Strain.
Instead of releasing the overnight numbers, "Live + Same Day", the network remained quiet until the "Live + 3" came in. This may seem self-explanatory, but just in case – the Live + Same Day numbers show the ratings for the initial airing and the rest of that day. The Live + 3 adds in the ratings for the following three days of DVR playback. Many people, especially younger viewers, no longer watch shows when they are schedule but rather off of a DVR.
It's not uncommon for a show, especially 10 pm dramas, to jump as much as 50% when the additional three days of DVR playback is included. The Strain jumped 64% and could come close to doubling it's initial audience if you look at the Live + 7 data.
Looking at Guillermo del Toro's vampire-virus drama"The Strain," it averaged a 1.91 rating in adults 18-49 (2.43 million viewers) and 4.73 million total viewers in "Live + 3″ ratings, rising 64% in demo rating (from 1.18) and 58% in total viewers (from 2.99 million) from its "Live plus same-day" averages. The 1.91 puts it ahead of TNT's "The Last Ship," which did a 1.73 rating in Live+3 (after earning the same 1.18 rating as "The Strain" in "Live+same-day").
Showtime also released the Live + 3 data for their two recently returned series Ray Donovan and Masters of Sex. Both seemed down from their previous series when looking at the overnight numbers, but Ray Donovan jumped 52% and Masters of Sex 68% when the additional 3 days were included.
The article points out the problem with the Neilsen Ratings system. As more and more avenues of watching a program become available – DVR, On-Demand, Streaming – there needs to be a way to track the true popularity of the show through all of these avenues. How many shows have been cancelled because the networks can't really see how popular they are?