Thursday, January 04, 2007

Lies, damn lies, and statistics (part 3 of 3): Legion ratings

And here's part 3 of my number-crunching posts - this time, for the first time here, we look at the TV ratings of the animated Legion show (I did a quick look at the first week back in September here).

First off, I am not an expert at deciphering ratings or everything that goes into and comes out of them, I just present the numbers. This plot shows the Nielsen ratings for the 10:00-10:30 a.m. half hour, that is, the Legion animated series and its competitors. When I was a kid, there were only the three networks. Today there are five over-the-air networks and four cable networks: ABC, The CW, NBC, Fox, and CBS (which doesn't have kids programming at this time), plus Cartoon Network, Disney, Nickelodeon, and ToonDisney. (Click image to enlarge)

Thanks to Cynthia Turner's Cynopsis for the data.

As can be seen in this plot, Nick's "Fairly Oddparents" is the clear leader, with everyone else jockeying for the rest of the audience. The CW's Legion show is in the second tier of shows (it's the red line with the yellow triangle). Interestingly, three of the eight networks have changed the show in that time slot since the beginning of the season.

The rating point on the left side represents the number of people watching the show. Each point for the 2006-07 season represents 1,102,000 viewers. So the Legion has been getting somewhere in the neighborhood of 1.5 million viewers per episode. Compare that with the 33,985 who bought issue 24 of the parent comic. Just something to think about.

The other piece of data that goes with the ranking is the share, that is, what fraction of the viewing audience is watching that particular show (which I don't have plotted, but it would look pretty much the same as this one). At that half hour, roughly 2/3 of the people watching TV in the USA are watching "children's programming", and 6-8% of the people watching TV are watching the Legion.

Other than presenting the data, I'm not sure what else to make of it all. It can be seen that the Legion show is a solid performer and holds its own against the competition. I don't see any reason why not to renew it for a second season, but then again, I'm not the one making the decisions.

Fortunately, DC is attempting to capitalize on the viewership by preparing a new "Johnny DC" comic based on the TV series. Confirmed or rumored creators include J. Torres, Scott Beatty and Chynna Clugston.

1 comment:

Lyle said...

The thing that's most helpful in judging TV ratings is to find out what the network was getting a year earlier in the same time slot. Is this new show bringing in more viewers than the one it replaced?

It's also helpful to see what the show before it is getting... if there's a big drop-off from the lead-in that indicates viewers are changing the channel to avoid that show, though some drop-off is expected.

However, we can see a trend here and it looks like The Legion has retained 75% of the audience that first checked it out. If this were prime time, I'd find that passable, but I don't know how Saturday morning ratings go.

Then again, the really hard thing about judging TV ratings is that we don't know the bulk of the data that goes into the renewal/cancellation decision -- how much advertising revenue does the show draw (which is determined partially by the ratings but mostly by how ad buyers react to those ratings)? how much does the program cost in relation to the ad revenue? does the network or the network's sister companies making additional money from this show that they wouldn't get from an outside production company? Also, with kids TV, I'm sure licensing is a major factor... if there are deals in the pipeline that promise future revenue is the show continues.