Fox dumps ‘overnights’ as viewing habits continue to evolve

By Jim O'Neill on Nov 23 2015 at 10:00 AM
Fox dumps ‘overnights’ as viewing habits continue to evolve

Fox says it’s no longer planning to release overnight ratings – which are supplied by Nielsen and measure live or same-day viewing – because, “the connections between viewers and our shows today are more complex and, in many ways, deeper than ever – but they no longer only happen overnight.”

It’s the first network to step away from the measurement system that has been the go-to source for determining how popular a TV show is.

The numbers will still be available from Nielsen, the New York Times reported, and Fox still plans to use the numbers for live events like sports.

The Times said the move by Fox could set off a chain reaction by other networks that want less of a survey and more of a census regarding their shows’ popularity.

“This has to stop. It’s time for us to ‘walk the walk’ and change the conversation,” wrote Gary Newman and Dana Walden, co-chief executives of Fox Television Group, in a memo to staff members.

Increased viewing online, binge watching at the end of a season, and the demise of “appointment TV” all have contributed to a precipitous decline in the amount of live linear TV viewing, especially by the critical Millennial demographic.

In their memo, Newman and Walden point out that more than one-third of 18- to 49-year-olds who watch Fox programming do it within a seven-day window after the show has aired, a period they feel is more germane to setting ad rates.

While Fox is the first major broadcaster to drop the overnights, several cable networks – including those belonging to NBCUniversal, FX and AMC – already have said they’d stop reporting the overnights as well.

Stay tuned.

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