updated 11:00 am EST, Tue January 17, 2006
iPod bolsters ratings
Apple's iPod and the iTunes Music Store have been credited as to the rise in popularity of NBC's "The Office", which delivered a rating of 5.1 last Thursday--its highest ratings among adults 18 to 49. The show is NBC's top-performing video content available via the iTunes Music Store, accounting for one-third of all the NBC/Universal downloads. NBC says it is confident that the iPod exposure contributed to the rise, according to TelevisionWeek. However, one analyst cautions against making a correlation between iTunes downloads and TV show ratings. "We are not seeing the kind of volume yet on iTunes that would show up in a ratings bump," said Adi Kishore, analyst with Yankee Group.
Frederick Huntsberry, president of NBCU Television Distribution said that iTunes is bringing new audiences to the show that would not otherwise have watched.
"Consumers have choices, and we are not reaching all consumers with one technology," Huntsberry said.
iTunes is another way to bring new viewers to the network, according to the TV exec.
"We are offering content and reaching viewers for the first time. These are audiences using iTunes to manage their music," Huntsberry said. "Now being able to download TV shows is a new technology they are playing with."
A 14 percent rise in the download audience for ABC's "Lost" show along with the knowledge that iTunes distribution may have grown rather than cannibalized TV ratings reportedly gave the ABC Disney Television Group the confidence to add more iTunes content last week. The latest offerings included content from ABC Family, Disney Channel, ESPN, ABC Sports and SoapNet.
"There are so many different factors that go into driving success and increases in a show. From a statistical standpoint, [iTunes] is probably one of many factors," Albert Cheng said, executive vice president of digital media for the Disney ABC Television Group.