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Chart: How ‘Person of Interest’ is No. 1 in total viewers, but a distant No. 6 in SFTV ratings

Chart: How ‘Person of Interest’ is No. 1 in total viewers, but a distant No. 6 in SFTV ratings

For years, you have probably heard that there is a difference between the number of total viewers of a program and its actual Nielsen ratings. It is true; it’s all about the money, too – advertiser money.

For the most part, advertisers of mass-market products only want to pay to show their stuff to a specific group of people: those with money to spend (those over 18) and who are the most susceptible to being swayed by TV advertisements, according to their studies (or, those under age 50).

So, Nielsen developed a way to count the number of viewers of a show who are aged 18-to-49, the sweet spot “demographic”  for advertiser dollars. Thus, the fabled 18-49 rating was born.

Below, I’ve created two charts that rank SFTV shows for the week of Nov. 10-16, 2013.

On top is the chart based upon the shows’ total viewers – how many people of all ages actually watched them.

The bottom chart keeps the same shows in the same order – for the same week – except the height of the wedges is determined by the Nielsen 18-49-year old ratings.  The difference is fairly significant.

Total Viewers – The SFTV People Watch

This chart has Person of Interest as No.1, with The Walking Dead as No. 2 – and the rest of the field a distant third through 21st.

KEY
Person of Interest Walking Dead Sleepy Hollow Once Upon a Time Agents of SHIELD
Grimm Revolution American Horror Story: Coven The Neighbors Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Arrow Dracula The Vampire Diaries Supernatural The Originals
Reign Tomorrow People Haven Witches of East End Ravenswood
Beauty and the Beast

Ratings – How Advertisers See SFTV

This chart shows The Walking Dead as No.1 by a long shot. Here, Sleepy Hollow is No.2 with American Horror Story barely beating Agents of SHIELD for the No. 3 spot. The important thing to note is Person of Interest, which has the most viewers overall, finished in 6th place in the ratings that national ad buyers care about. Also, look at ABC’s The Neighbors and Once Upon a Time in Wonderland. Both get a decent number in total viewers, as shown above, but fall off a cliff in the 18-49 ratings.

KEY
Person of Interest Walking Dead Sleepy Hollow Once Upon a Time Agents of SHIELD
Grimm Revolution American Horror Story: Coven The Neighbors Once Upon a Time in Wonderland
Arrow Dracula The Vampire Diaries Supernatural The Originals
Reign Tomorrow People Haven Witches of East End Ravenswood
Beauty and the Beast

 

SOURCE: Nielsen. The full list in table form, with numbers, is located here: http://fandominion.com/2013/11/sftv-week-8-breaking-ratings/

David Speakman

David Speakman has spent more than two decades as a writer/editor, photographer, graphic designer and manager of creative teams in broadcast, print and the Internet. His education is in journalism, graphic design, organizational communication and law.
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