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Network Spotlight: Advertising and Viewership Trends for NBC

Ready for some fall TV yet? We are! So as summer winds down, we’re shining a spotlight on some of the networks as they prepare to kick off the 2019-20 television season.

First up: NBC. We looked at advertising and viewership trends from this past spring (Jan. 1 through May 31) using data from iSpot.tv, the always-on TV ad measurement and attribution company, Inscape, the TV data company with glass-level insights from a panel of more than 11 million smart TVs and video measurement company Tubular Labs.

Key Advertising Stats via iSpot

  • 124.1 billion TV ad impressions
  • $2.38 billion in estimated spend
  • Top-spending brands: GEICO, T-Mobile, Verizon, Progressive and Toyota
  • Most-seen (non-network promo) spot: Citi Entertainment ‘Once in a Lifetime’ Song by Zara Larsson (818.5 million impressions) 

Attention Analytics

iSpot.tv also has attention analytics that measure both the propensity for viewers to interrupt ad play during a commercial (the iSpot Attention Index), as well as the average percentage of an ad that is played across TV devices (the iSpot Attention Score). 

Three of the brands with high impressions and a positive Attention Index: 

  • Neutrogena (Skin Care) – 1.2 billion impressions, 122 Attention Index (its ads had 22% fewer interruptions than average)  
  • McDonald’s – 987.8 million impressions, 106 Attention Index (6% fewer interruptions) 
  • Walmart – 961.6 million impressions, 118 Attention Index (18% fewer interruptions)

Three of the individual spots (non-network promos) that had a high iSpot Attention Score:

Viewership Insights

We looked at viewer trends across some of NBC’s major shows using insights from Inscape, including show crossover and season-over-season crossover. 

First, a look at the percent of crossover among five of NBC’s hit series: The Voice, This Is Us, Manifest, Chicago Fire and New Amsterdam. A note about methodology: You have to do more than just flip past a station with your remote to count as a “crossover viewer” in Inscape’s system. For the data below, the minimum viewing threshold is ten minutes. 

Via Inscape

Some highlights:

  • The Voice had the highest crossover rate for all of the shows
  • At the high end of crossover: 56% of New Amsterdam viewers tuned into The Voice; 55% of them watched This Is Us
  • At the low end: Manifest lagged in general, with only 20% of The Voice fans tuning into it, and it only captured 23% of This Is Us watchers

Speaking of The Voice, this popular reality singing show has been an NBC stalwart for years, so we took a look at its audience loyalty, with a season-over-season crossover analysis. Of the fans who watched season 15 of The Voice (Sept. 24 through Dec. 18, 2018), 56% of them came back for season 16 this spring, and 60% of season 16 viewers had also watched season 15. It’s reasonable to expect similar rates of crossover for the upcoming seventeenth season, set to premiere on Sept. 23. 

Via Inscape

Even more impressive is a look at the loyalty from This Is Us viewers: 51% who watched season two came back for season three, and 51% who watched season three had also tuned into season two. 

Via Inscape

Looking at Chicago Med, 43% of season three viewers tuned into season four, and 44% of season four viewers had watched season three. 

Via Inscape

What’s Poised To Be Big in 2019?

While it’s impossible to entirely predict which shows will be most successful this fall, one hint lies in the impressions that trailers have generated this summer. Looking at data from iSpot, we can see the most impressions delivered by trailers for the following shows from July 1 through Aug. 7, 2019:

  1. Bring the Funny (494.8 million)
  2. Bluff City Law (260.2 million)
  3. Perfect Harmony (195.3 million)
  4. This is Us (138.7 million)

Data from video measurement company Tubular Labs expands that conversation further to see popular trailers for NBC shows across social video platforms like Facebook, YouTube, Twitter and Instagram. In the last 90 days, Perfect Harmony (starring Bradley Whitford) picked up over 13 million views for its trailer on Instagram, Facebook and YouTube, while Bluff City Law has 9.4 million cross-platform views for its own trailer. Another new show, Sunnyside (starring Kal Penn), generated over 9 million views for its trailer that debuted back in May on both its own YouTube page and NBC’s Facebook page. 

However, returning shows like This is Us and The Voice have been able to generate millions more views simply by way of having several seasons of content already available to utilize on the platforms. Both programs have been churning out video content throughout the summer, showing fan-favorite scenes along with new trailers to get viewers excited in advance of premieres.

Photo by Trent Szmolnik on Unsplash