Here Are the TV Shows and Networks People Watch Live Most and Least Often

Report says broadcast viewers more likely to time-shift than cable

While broadcast viewers are thought to represent a more traditional TV audience than those watching cable, a new report says they are actually less likely to watch programming live than their cable counterparts, especially if the network in question is The CW.

That information comes from TiVo Research's Q2 State of TV report, which was released today. The quarterly report tracks time-shifting using TiVo's Media TRAnalytics data set, which anonymously aggregates set-top box data from more than 2.3 million households including TiVo owners and other cable providers.

According to the study, while the vast majority of TV viewing continues to be live, broadcast network prime-time viewing is more likely to be time-shifted than cable programming. Twenty-six percent of broadcast prime-time programming was time-shifted during the second quarter (23 percent overall was watched in the C3 window, from the same day to three days later; the other 3 percent was time-shifted four to seven days). In total day viewing, 20 percent of broadcast programing was time-shifted.

For cable prime-time viewing during the quarter, 88 percent was viewed live, with total day viewing even higher at 91 percent.

The CW is the most time-shifted of the broadcast networks. Only 56 percent of its viewers watch live in prime time. Fox had 68 percent watching live, while the other networks were all in the 70s—CBS (71 percent), ABC (73 percent) and NBC (75 percent). In total day viewing, more than 80 percent of CBS', ABC's and NBC's content was viewed live.

 

Meanwhile, the 10 highest-rated cable networks boast significantly higher live percentages. ESPN, not surprisingly, is viewed live 92 percent of the time, both in prime time and total day. In total day, seven of the top 10 networks are watched live at least 90 percent of the time (HGTV, CNN, ESPN, USA, TBS, Food Network and History; Fox News Channel, TNT and MSNBC hovered in the mid- to high 80s).

 

The most time-shifted broadcast shows include all three of The CW's superhero series from last season: The Flash (63 percent watched time-shifted), Arrow (58 percent) and DC's Legends of Tomorrow (55 percent). ABC's Modern Family (55 percent) and Fox's New Girl (53 percent) round out the top five.

On cable, the most time-shifted shows were AMC's Better Call Saul (72 percent watched time-shifted), FX's The Americans (69 percent), USA's Royal Pains (62 percent), Comedy Central's Inside Amy Schumer (61 percent) and TBS' Full Frontal With Samantha Bee (59 percent).

Conversely, the broadcast shows that are watched live the most are NBC's Caught on Camera with Nick Cannon (89 percent), ABC's Jimmy Kimmel Live (88 percent), NBC's Dateline: On Assignment (87 percent), ABC's America's Funniest Home Videos (86 percent), and the only scripted series in the group, NBC's The Carmichael Show (85 percent).

On the cable side, the top five shows watched live are Discovery's The Last Alaskans: Land of the Free (94 percent), Discovery's Alaskan Bush People: Off the Grid (94 percent), OWN's If Loving You Is Wrong (93 percent and the only cable scripted series to make the cut), HGTV's Island Life (92 percent) and CNN Tonight With Don Lemon (91 percent).

Where viewers shop

Also in the report, TiVo Research used location data from NinthDecimal, which matches TV ad exposure data to in-store visitation to find out which shows are favored by "heavy" customers of a particular retailer (those who visited a store at least three times in a two-month period).

Their findings, broken down by each category's biggest competitors, revealed that aside from fans of ABC's How to Get Away With Murder and ABC's American Crime, there was minimal overlap between shows and retailers. NCIS: Los Angeles viewers favor Home Depot, while NCIS: New Orleans viewers prefer Lowe's. And fans of NBC's Chicago drama franchise flock to Burger King.

 

The full TiVo Research report is available here.