Sky 1 programme director Stuart Murphy has said that multiscreen viewing opportunities are increasingly devaluing the currency of overnight ratings, historically the measure of success for broadcasters.
In a blog post, Murphy gave the example of comedy drama Mad Dogs which effectively trebled its audience from its initial showing. Murphy said that the initial 817,000 viewings for the linear transmission across satellite and cable was “pretty good”, but that the consolidated audience once Sky+ (PVR), Sky Anytime (Push VOD) and Sky Player (Pull VOD) was taken into account the actual audience was close to 2.2 million, three times the overnight figure.
“When you take a channel like Sky Atlantic HD, for instance, 43% of viewing is done non-live. In this context, it seems just absurd and actually a bit thick to just look at how the shows rate on an overnight,” said Murphy. “This means that, at Sky, we’ve long since dispensed with the overnights as a measure of how well we’re meeting the demand of our viewers, although for some in the free-to-air world or some commentators it remains a preoccupation.”
Putting Murphy’s viewing figures into a context of which he may not entirely approve, an audience of 2.2 million is equivalent to the 16th most popular programme on BBC Two. This creates a more than respectable audience for Sky 1, which is only available in pay-TV households, representing around half of UK homes.