“NBC’s ‘The Office’ delivered a 5.1-its highest ratings ever-last Thursday among adults 18 to 49, a bump the network credits in large part to the show’s popularity as an iPod download,” Daisy Whitney reports for TV Week. “In fact, the series is NBC’s top-performing video podcast available on Apple’s iTunes, where it has been available since Dec. 6. Such a connection between podcast success and broadcast ratings success is particularly significant because the NBC data is among the first available evidence of what network executives have been gambling on when striking their new media deals-that the new video platforms are additive because they provide more entry points into a show for consumers.”

Whitney reports, “In the case of ‘The Office,’ the series was one of 12 NBC Universal shows that have been available since NBC struck a deal with with Apple in early December. (NBC added ‘Saturday Night Live’ to the lineup last week.) In that short time period, ‘The Office’ has accounted for one-third of all the NBCU downloads on iTunes, clearly the lion’s share of NBCU content available through the site. Then on Jan. 5, the prime-time series moved to Thursday nights and delivered a 4.5 in adults 18 to 49, then its highest rating ever for a regular slotted telecast, which was bested last week with a 5.1 in the demo. Also on Jan. 5, it served up its best retention ever of its lead-in, ‘My Name Is Earl,’ capturing 87 percent of that show’s audience, up from its previous 71 percent average. On Jan. 12 it retained 86 percent of its lead-in. And the ratings bump can’t be attributed to a change in lineup, since ‘The Office’ has been paired with ‘My Name Is Earl’ all along.”

“Parsing out the credit for a ratings increase has always been tricky because myriad factors are often at play. However, NBC is confident that the iPod exposure contributed to the rise,” Whitney reports.

“ABC has also seen a ratings increase for its iTunes shows. To date since their debut on iTunes in October, both ‘Lost’ and ‘Desperate Housewives’ are up versus the same period last year. ‘Lost,’ ABC’s most popular show in terms of downloads, has seen its total audience rise 14 percent and ratings for adults 18 to 49 are up 28 percent. ‘Desperate Housewives’ total audience is up 7 percent and 18 to 49 ratings are up 3 percent. ITunes downloads for both shows also rose in the last few weeks,” Whitney reports. “That growth and the knowledge that iTunes distribution possibly grew and certainly did not cannibalize ratings gave the ABC Disney Television Group the confidence to add another round of iTunes programs last week that includes content from ABC Family, Disney Channel, SoapNet, ABC Sports and ESPN, said Albert Cheng, executive VP of digital media for the Disney ABC Television Group.”

Full article here.
With such power comes much more content. Watch for new additions soon. Hello, CBS? Les!!! Are you going to wake up sometime this decade or what? You don’t want to be known anymore as the network for the senior citizen set, but then you don’t move like a teenager (or even like a 50 year-old, for that matter) to get your content on iTunes? Instead, you’re the last and the slowest of the Big Four (assuming Fox signs before you) to get your content on iTunes? Not smart, CBS.

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