TV viewers will flock back to faves: Carat

Of the 1,000 Americans surveyed after the writers' strike ended, 62% said they'll definitely be watching their favourite series if they return in mid-season; 55% will do so even if those shows don't air until fall or winter.

When Carat NYC surveyed 1,000 Americans (aged 18 and older) about their TV viewing plans following the resolution of the writers’ strike, the results were positive for both advertisers and networks. No, these are not Canadian numbers, but MiC thinks the smart money’s on Canucks pretty much following suit.

Some 62% of the survey respondents said they’ll definitely be watching their favourite prime-time series if and when they return in mid-season, and 55% said they’ll do so even if the shows they like best don’t air until fall or winter. Only 5% said they don’t plan to resume watching their faves at all, no matter when they return – although 11% said they expect to watch TV shows online instead of on the tube. About 2% said they’ll be watching on TV network websites.

Among viewers who don’t plan to resume watching their favorites on TV, 75% said they’d most likely either channel surf or watch other prime-time TV shows they’re familiar with if their favorite shows don’t return until fall or winter. About 3% said they plan to go online to TV network/video/websites to watch full repeat episodes and/or any online exclusive content of favorite TV shows (such as interviews and previews).

As for current programming, 9% of prime-time viewers said they’re watching more TV now that the strike is over compared to during the strike, while 82% are watching the same amount.

Results to survey questions about upcoming special TV events revealed that 48% said they’re interested in watching the 2008 Summer Olympics, while 32% plan to watch American Idol finals in May.

Carat media executives believe the availability of favourite show repeats and other programs shown online during the writers’ strike helped keep viewers interested and tuning into new episodes, as well as bringing them into the story lines of shows they previously didn’t watch on air. This, they stated, is strong corroboration that the two mediums complement each other.

‘Television has shown its resiliency, and the growing online component has become a complementary platform, not only as a convenience for the viewer, but also as an advertising opportunity for our clients,’ notes Sarah Fay, CEO of Carat and Isobar US.