Time-shifting is playing an increasingly disruptive role in American viewing habits, as evidenced by the significant lift in program deliveries in 2012. While broadcasters have howled for a ratings currency that will compensate them for all the additional eyeballs, cable programs appear to be impacted disproportionately by the DVR.
Popular cable series accounted for 90 percent of Nielsen’s annual list, with Fox’s Fringe serving as the lone representative of the broadcast nets. Interestingly enough, most of the shows that are viewed outside of the live-plus-same-day window are decidedly adult affairs. Only USA Network’s trio of relatively sunny series (Covert Affairs, Suits, White Collar) offsets the pitch-black pleasures to be found on AMC (Breaking Bad, Mad Men) and FX (Justified, Sons of Anarchy, American Horror Story: Asylum).
With DVRs having found their way into 46 percent of all American TV households, it’s little wonder that viewers time-shifted in 2012 more than they did in 2011. Whereas each program on the following list more than doubled its live viewership—the No. 1 show saw deliveries soar 130 percent—last year, the highest gain was just 90 percent.
Video Gallery: Top 10 Time-Shifted TV Shows of 2012