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Summary:

It’s not the kind of news that is going to help Chris Anderson sell books, but it does make sense: Big TV shows from the big networks are piling up big online viewer numbers, which at some point could become a big business. According to a […]

It’s not the kind of news that is going to help Chris Anderson sell books, but it does make sense: Big TV shows from the big networks are piling up big online viewer numbers, which at some point could become a big business.

According to a post at MediaDailyNews, streams of ABC’s hit shows Grey’s Anatomy and Desperate Housewives helped draw in nearly 3 million unique visitors in October and November, before dropping off a bit. With its CSI and NCIS shows, CBS also had a big fall, with about a million unique visitor streams in October and almost 2 million in November. Fox wasn’t as successful (not cresting a million views in any of the Fall months) and NBC embarrassingly didn’t have enough streams to measure.

Since the shows are heavily promoted on the networks, it stands to follow that they would have big online followings as well. Now that’s not to say that indie online networks won’t attract their own followings, but the big bucks are going to follow the eyeballs, and right now that means network shows shrunk down to PC size.

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  1. “… right now that means network shows shrunk down to PC size.”

    They’re already out there on bittorrent and the p2p network of your choice. And the people making big bucks from them are the torrent indexing sites from which people download them.

    Alexa actually shows a drop for both sites and Compete do show a bump for abc but a drop for cbs. Quantcast give show a big drop for CBS and some big ups and downs for ABC.

    I guess it depends who you trust for ratings…

  2. To be honest you can’t really trust any of these.

    There are serious problems with most of the panel-based traffic measurement services, particularly with the ones most frequently cited by reporters (ComScore and Nielsen NetRatings). This is largely a function of their panel-based metholodogy, but as it turns out Alexa is in many cases substantially worse because its data is collected only from users who have installed its toolbar. Quantcast is a great idea and could have some potential if they can get people to tag their sites with their javascripts.

    I work for a large television network with an web presence, and we would almost never use traffic numbers from Alexa, NetRatings NetView, or ComScore to inform our business strategy. They’re more for initiating conversations with advertisers or for PR, since the data is supplied by a third party. Very frequently, even with large sites, these guys are way off in terms of direction.

  3. Also with respect to Paul’s original post, Nielsen NetRatings cannot currently track video streams. It can only track visits from its panelists to the domain name that hosts the content itself (typically about 25-35 of its panelists must visit that domain during the month in order for them to track it), which it then projects out to represent the US population.

    A stream initiation may not have actually occured for any number of reasons (server problems, problems with the user’s computer such as an incompatible flash version etc etc).

    It’s a very rough estimate in other words…

  4. NewTeeVee » NBC’s ‘Heroes’ Adds Online Powers Monday, January 22, 2007

    […] This is in addition to streams of the previous episodes, an online graphic novel, interactive map of the Heroes universe, a popular fan forum and a blog from fan favorite Hiro. If you’re curious about what online moves NBC might make, this would be the show to keep an eye on — after all, Big TV Shows equals Big Online Numbers, and they’re throwing the social-web kitchen sink at it! […]

  5. NewTeeVee Monday Morning Vid-Biz Headlines « Monday, June 18, 2007

    [...] Has Delivered 300 Million Streams since October 2006. Initially Nielsen had said NBC streams didn’t register on its meter, but lately NBC seems to be leading online. (emailed [...]

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