True Blood Ratings & What They Mean to HBO

October 30, 2008 by  

Bill in Fangtasia

Bill in Fangtasia

Nov. 9th, first airing:
TRUE BLOOD (50 minutes) Episode 10 1.4/2 HH 1.3/3 A18-49
Estimated viewership: 2.47 million
“I Don’t Wanna Know”

Caught in a compromising position, Sam shares a secret with an incredulous Sookie. Thinking she’s been purged of her demon, Tara celebrates with Lettie Mae – but goes off the deep end when she uncovers Miss Jeanette’s true intentions. Sookie has a disturbing revelation during Arlene and Rene’s engagement party at Merlotte’s; Jason and Amy debate what to do with Eddie; and Tara speeds into a bizarre roadside encounter that lands her in jail. At a vampire tribunal to decide his fate, Bill faces a harsh penalty for his offense, but the magister decides on a more creative sentence involving a young human named Jessica.

TRUE BLOOD (54 minutes) Episode 10 1.4/2 HH 1.2/3 A18-49
Estimated viewership: 2.28 million
* 02 Nov 08 “Plaisir D’Amour”

Bill breaks a vampire taboo in protecting Sookie – and must pay a steep price as a result. Jason and Amy break their own taboo by kidnapping a vampire named Eddie in order to harvest his blood. With Lettie Mae apparently cured, a skeptical Tara consults with Miss Jeanette about exorcising her own inner demon. Sookie returns home to yet another horrific tragedy, prompting Bill to enlist an unlikely bodyguard – Sam – to protect her while he’s away.

October 26th, first airing:
TRUE BLOOD (56 minutes) Ep 8:(A18-49:??; HH:??; V:2,075,000)

The October 26th first run showing of True Blood Ep 8 drew 2.07 million viewers! No breakdown is currently available.  This is only slightly down from last week’s record high of 2,098,000 first run viewers and 6 million viewers across the whole week.  Congrats Alan Ball, Stephen Moyers, Anna Paquin and the rest of the cast and crew!  ROCK ON!

October 19th, first airing:
TRUE BLOOD (53 minutes) Ep 7:(A18-49:1.1/3; HH:1.2/2; V:2,098,000)

As a comparison:

ENTOURAGE (27 minutes)               1.0/2   0.9/2   1,586,000
LITTLE BRITAIN USA (29 minutes)      0.3/1   0.3/1     447,000

This is up .2 in the targeted viewers and .2 in HH from last week (and up .1 in HH from the previous High).  Also, Neilsens are only first showing.  So extrapolating from previous numbers on second showing TB got about a million views on the second showing bringing the Sunday showings to over 3 million viewers!  The data on 6 million views shows that the previous extrapolations I did, estimating half the weekly views on Sunday and half from on demand and later views during the week are fairly reliable and I will continue to assume that from now on unless I see data to the contrary.  Since our goal number as detailed below is 3.5 milliion views..
Ratings week of October 12th first airing:
– “True Blood” (HBO) Ep 6:  (A18-49: 0.9/2; HH: 1.0/2)

Below is the ‘high’ point when the series was renewed:

Week of September 21st:

– “True Blood” (HBO) Ep 3: 1.82 million viewers (A18-49: 0.9/2; HH: 1.1/2)

We haven’t gotten the number of viewers total lately but the A18-49 demographic hasn’t changed at 0.9 although households has dropped by a tenth of a percent from the high. (that might be just because of all the politics and sports and might be a very small fluctuation that rounds down).

The way HBO looks at a show is total views in a week including on demand and DVR.  Currently, True Blood’s second run on Sunday is bringing in half as many as the first run.  I can’t even guess at the rest of the week they are showing it a couple times a day in addition to on Demand.  But just taking the first two viewings brings us to 2.4 million views.  To keep True Blood on the air they would need to have one of two things, viewership greater than 3.5 million total (my guestimate that might need to be slightly higher depending on the cost of production)  If fifty percent of the views are on the first showing then we’re at 3.6 million viewers already.  Some shows have had historically as little as one third of it’s views on it’s debut night and considering that it’s up against sunday night football it’s likely that it’s first play views are no more than fifty percent of it’s total viewership so we’re already safe on this level just based on total views.

The second thing is that a show can pull in a particular demographic that HBO has trouble with and that makes them giddy. And who is that demographic?  Women.  Well.. look around ladies.. we’re a in like Flynn!

To complicate the question (in our favor) is the problem with the economy.  Many folks are cutting back on ‘extra’s’ like HBO and I don’t know how the subscriber pool has dropped.  They may be willing to accept a lower viewership if things are getting slim.  Of course, anything we can do to grow the viewership is a good thing.

And finally, HBO keeps shows on the air if the only reason you are subscribing is that show.  So if anyone asks, tell them what is likely the truth, you subscribe for True Blood.