Press Room

“Lost,” “Saturday Night Live,” And “Greys Anatomy” Most Popular Entertainment TV Programs Streamed From Tagged Broadcast Network Web Sites In December Nielsen Online Reports

Privilegedu001d Ranks No. 1 by Time Spent in December

New York, NY – February 12 , 2009 – In its first public release of online individual TV program rankings, The Nielsen Company today announced that ABC.com’s “Lost” had 1.4 million unique viewers in December – the most among online broadcast TV network entertainment programs streamed from tagged network Web sites and embedded network video players.

NBC.com’s “Saturday Night Live” was a close second, with 1.1 million unique viewers, followed by ABC.com’s “Grey’s Anatomy” with 879,000 unique viewers in December (see Table 1 and VideoCensus methodology section below).

The network Web sites included were from broadcast networks that had tagged their online offerings: ABC.com, CBS Television, CWTV.com, FOX Broadcasting, and NBC.com. The rankings exclude Hulu, which currently does not report VideoCensus data at the program level, and include unique viewers who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month.

”As I see it, the broad diversity of top television network entertainment programs online suggests that there is more to online viewership than a simple extension of the TV audience,” said Jon Gibs, vice president of media analytics, Nielsen Online. ”While the online popularity of some shows, like ‘Grey’s  Anatomy’ suggests that some people are using the Internet to catch up on programs they usually watch on television, the online popularity of other programs like ‘Saturday Night Live,’ indicates that there is a Web audience that might otherwise not watch these programs at all. These viewers are driven by a morning-after water cooler effect. Then there’s ‘Lost,’ which was not even on television in December. We believe viewers were using the Internet to familiarize themselves with the plot in advance of the show returning in January.”

Table 1: Top 10 Online Broadcast TV Network Entertainment Programs* for December 2008, ranked by Unique Viewers (U.S.)

Program

Network

Unique Viewers (000)

Lost

ABC.com

1,425

Saturday Night Live

NBC.com

1,111

Grey’s Anatomy

ABC.com

879

Desperate Housewives

ABC.com

723

Heroes

NBC.com

685

Ugly Betty

ABC.com

631

Samantha Who?

ABC.com

560

Scrubs

ABC.com

519

Survivor

CBS Television

496

True Beauty

ABC.com

462

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus
*Reflects video content on ABC.com, CBS Television, CWTV.com, FOX Broadcasting, and NBC.com, along with their respective embedded video players. Programs are client-defined.

TOP ENTERTAINMENT PROGRAMS RANKED BY TIME SPENT ONLINE

When ranked by time spent per viewer in December, CWTV.com’s “Privileged” ranks No. 1, with 215 minutes per viewer, followed by NBC.com’s “Chuck” and “Lipstick Jungle,” with 163 minutes and 153 minutes, respectively.

”Audience size is clearly important, but we are still in a ‘taste testing’ phase for online long form video,” said Gibs. “Consumers are starting a stream to see if they like it, and maybe they finish watching the program and maybe they don’t. Advertisers should be looking to balance overall reach with minutes per viewer, since those programs with longer viewing times are ones where consumers are much more likely to actually watch the advertising. Focusing on time will also surface shows like the ‘Young and the Restless,’ that advertisers might not normally look to.”

Table 2: Top 10 Online Broadcast TV Network Entertainment Programs* for December 2008, ranked by Time Spent Viewing (U.S.)

Program

Network

Minutes per Viewer

Unique Viewers (000)

Privileged

CWTV.com

214.6

29

Chuck

NBC.com

162.5

226

Lipstick Jungle

NBC.com

153.2

152

Gossip Girl

CWTV.com

140.0

165

The Simpsons

FOX Broadcasting

138.8

41

Life

NBC.com

137.4

133

Kitchen Nightmares

FOX Broadcasting

124.9

40

Private Practice

ABC.com

123.1

350

Young and the Restless

CBS Television

115.6

323

The Office

NBC.com

111.8

374

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensus, December 2008
*Reflects video content on ABC.com, CBS Television, CWTV.com, FOX Broadcasting, and NBC.com, along with their respective embedded video players. Programs are client-defined.

“We have begun publicly ranking specific programs streamed online because we achieved a critical mass of broadcast networks that are tagging their programs,” said Gibs. “These rankings provide important insights into user activity and moving ahead, we will work with clients to address issues of labeling and distribution to make the ranking even more granular.”

Nielsen Online today also provided overall online video usage and top online brands ranked by video streams for December 2008. Month-over-month, all metrics were flat with a slight downtick in time per viewer.

Table 3: Overall Online Video Usage (U.S.)

 

Nov-08

Dec-08

Percent Change

Unique Viewers (000)

124,262

124,611

0%

Total Streams (000)

9,548,267

9,593,320

0%

Streams per Viewer

76.8

77

0%

Time per Viewer (min)

177.9

170.7

-4%

Source: Nielsen Online, VideoCensusN
ote: Includes progressive downloads and excludes video advertising.

VideoCensus Methodology and Metrics:
Nielsen Online’s VideoCensus combines patented panel and census research methodologies to provide an accurate count of viewing activity and engagement along with in-depth demographic reporting. Online video viewing is tracked according to video player, which can be used on site or embedded elsewhere on the Web. For example, if a “Saturday Night Live” clip from NBC.com is embedded on a personal blog, that video would be attributed to NBC because of the NBC video player.

A unique viewer is anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month. A stream is a program segment. VideoCensus measurement does not include video advertising.