True Blood’s Second Season Averaged 12.4 Million Viewers Per Episode

September 28, 2009 by  

True Blood Cast with Alan BallEven in this tough economy, the second season of Alan Ball‘s HBO vampire drama True Blood was a ratings juggernaut.  Whether viewers watched each episode when it first aired on Sunday night, saw it on Demand, or used DVR to watch the episode later, they were all indisputably and avidly tuning in to every episode this summer.

This month, Variety examined the top three subscription cable networks, calling specific attention to True Blood in its analysis of the way audiences are changing their viewing habits:

The audience base for HBO‘s red-hot vampire drama “True Blood” offers a good illustration of how viewing is changing.

According to HBO, the series’ sophomore season, which wrapped Sept. 13, averaged 12.4 million viewers per episode, when measured across various viewing platforms. But only 24% of those viewers came for the show’s premiere 9 p.m. Sunday telecasts.

Some 37% of “True Blood’s” true-blue fans caught reruns on HBO and its themed channels throughout the week, while 21% watched via DVR playback and 18% watched on the HBO on Demand platform. It’s telling that the percentage of on-demand viewing climbed significantly from the show’s first season, when it was 13%, while the rerun viewing dropped sharply, from 56% in season one.

While the rest of the article contends that subscription cable channels are scrambling to maintain viewing audiences and subscriptions in the face of Internet download services like iTunes, TV by the Numbers strongly disagreed with Variety’s stance on this issue, stating:

When the numbers can just speak for themselves, let them speak for themselves!  In September 2008, Nielsen estimated coverage for HBO was 30.78 million, Showtime, 18.93 million and Starz in 20.6 million.   In September 2009 the estimates are 32.5 million for HBO, 22.2 million for Showtime and 22.52 million for Starz.   That’s not an exodus, that’s growth!  Significant growth!  …Could it be that in a recessionary environment, even as customers rein in discretionary spending, that the perceived value of the entertainment dollar for subscription cable services is higher!?

Regardless of the long range plans of all three subscription networks, clearly HBO owes a huge part of the network’s growth in viewership to Allan Ball and the fantastic cast, writers, and crew of True Blood.  Equally obvious is the audience’s feeling that True Blood provides quality entertainment worth paying for.  While it’s smiles all around for network executives, this information is fantastic news for True Blood fans everywhere because it means we will get more of the show we love.

How do you watch True Blood?  Do you watch each episode on Sunday night premieres?  Watch each episode on Demand?  Record each episode on DVR to watch later? Catch reruns later in the week?  Rewatch each episode to catch things you might have missed the first time around?

Without a doubt, with True Blood pulling in such phenomenal numbers, HBO will be watching our viewing patterns closely as they move forward as an entertainment provider.

SOURCE: Variety and TV by the Numbers

(Photo credit: JustJared)

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  • antonio

    I think that is wonderful,Nia. I wish I knew some people like That in My neck of the woods! I know only few other people who watch the show. Most of the people i talk to who have seen the show Or have read Any of the books are Women. I wasn’t even into it really,myself. My sister(who’s a bigger fan than I) Of Course she likes Eric…They All seem To here! Kind of got me into it. “Don’t you watch True Blood?” She had asked me
    “UGGHH!” I think was my first reaction. “That is Sick and Its Porn” I certainly Do Not watch That!” She said “You must have seen at least Some of it.” I think I said ~~And This was Earlier This year~~~ ” Some Gal was getting the shit beat out of her and then this dude with fangs smearing his blood over her face, GROSS! Then I went on to say when i put it on again
    some blonde dude was doing this gal and he was completely nude,YUCK!! What the hell is this!!
    You Don’t watch,it?” No I said Why would I there are better Adults Only stuff on HBO than That Crap! I think I said.
    Being a Guy, It was hard for Me to stomach,I recall I tried watching an episode in season 1 and it made me nauseous!
    I thought~~~At The Time Prolly Like Most Guys~~ The ONLY reason ANY1 would watch this crap was to see the guys Naked!
    My sister than said that it was about More than just sex,gore and nudity. So I began to watch some of it with her. She explained to me about the characters. That’s Eric Thats Bill
    Thats Sam Thats Jason .
    Sookie can read minds she can hear thoughts.
    “Sookie?” What the hell kind of name is that?”
    This Was me! I used to hhave a nickname for it I called it True Porn Needless to say after watching a couple of episodes with her and then watching some On Demand I grew to like it.
    I really liked the Bill-Sookie dynamic. I thought it was neat too that Mr. Merlotte could change into animals.
    I remember coming into my living room where my sis was watching an interview with Sam Trammell he was talking about season 2 of TB. “Who’s That?” I said “Thats Sam the guy who owns the bar”
    ” He looks like a Geek!” I said…I was still being “converted” atthe time…LOL
    So I guess for Us,Guys coming right to the show as a fan is quite involved We are Not overtly drawn to the sexy male element as are You! I wonder However if the Main lead character was a Sexy,Buxom Female…Instead of Bill Would the ladies Still Watch it???
    What if instead of 4 hot looking guys there were 5 Sexy Curvacious Gals!! Would it have such a devoted female following THEN???
    What If instead of Bill and Sookie We had Alyssa and Jason as the main vampire human couple….would you still watch it if the dominant vampires were Women???
    I Wonder?? There ARE Female Vampires,too Ya Know!!
    And They can be Just as seductive More So I think as the female’s lust for blood is also quite insatiable!
    Male Vampires are looking for brides Female Vamps are usually just looking for food Or a Sex slave!!!
    Anyway, I Am a fan of the show. I think its the best show on TV!
    AB and the writers do such an Amazing job!
    I guess Guys think differently about this whole thing~~~I Think I Can speak for the Male side since Most of you are Women!!

  • Nia

    I watched each episode as it premired. Sunday nights became sacred. We had TB parties, usually women only. At least 5 -8 of us gathered to watch. I then would go home and watch with my husband, who I “turned” to TB (on the DVR). Then I would watch with my daughter. After All that, I would watch again just for good measure. If I happen to be channel surfing that week and TB was on, well, guess what??!! Face it, there is not much out there that compares with this wildly sexy, amazing adult entertainment. It has become my personnal pleasure. I also just started watching the first season with my husband. He is the “newbie” and aftet finally catching up, realized how great the writing is and now believes me when I tell him how I have been glamoured completey by this show and the wonderful actors. Yes, OK, he also has to get over the fact that I adore Bill Compton.
    Waiting anxiously for season 3. I will have to have parties for friends and rewatch all 24 episodes to fill the long hiatus and winter months ahead.
    We also toasted the finale with “True Blood”, the drink. Everyone loved it. I will have to get more!

  • I watch it live on Sunday nights with my husband, but I also record it on my DVR to watch again with some friends later in the week! I end up watching each episode at least 3 times minimum, since my friends aren’t always able to get together on the same day. Such a hardship! I own season 1 on DVD, and have gotten my sis-in-law hooked on it, too!

    About the economy part – I cancelled HBO as soon as the last show aired, and will order it again as the new season starts up next summer. I can’t afford to pay for a whole year of HBO, but I will happily pay for the channel while my fave show is on!!

  • Mary Ann

    I just started watching True Blood when I landed in Cambodia. (Currently traveling all over SE Asia). So, I guess I’m seeing the second season, but many episodes behind the states. I joined the fan club and found people were spoiling it for me. I watch the show, which plays originally in Cambodia on Cinemax on Saturday at 8:00 pm and then reruns Sunday, Monday, Tuesday and it used to run on Friday also, but this has now stopped.

    The amazing thing to me is that I can find all of Season 2 on DVD here and it has been here since I became aware of the program, which was before the final episode. People have become paranoid thinking that people are filming movies in the movie theaters and then selling them on the street. However, in the Philippines, I saw first run, yet to be released movies, on long bus trips. The leaks are much closer to home than the studios would like to know about apparently; unless they are deliberate leaks. I finally found a Season 1 and Season 2 DVD sets in the tourristy area of PP, Cambodia.

    The books cannot be purchased here in Cambodia, and when I tried to download them from a website that allows free reading online, I got my butt chewed up one side and down the other and was told Charlaine Harris had a problem with it I and was being accused of downloading and copying and selling the books. I can’t access the file and have never read a single page of any of her books. I don’t even own a computer let alone a photocopier. There are no Barnes and Noble or Borders in Cambodia. This is a 3rd world county, recovering from a horrific war, and the few bookstores that exist carry mainly books about Cambodia and the civil war, along with the classic Sydney Sheldon and Jackie Collins books – I’m not joking. The used bookstores carry a much better selection of books (carried in by tourists), but there are no Charlaine Harris books (at least that I have been able to find) in Cambodia. Maybe somebody should ship a few sets over here. I move around too much to deal with it.

    Watching reruns in Cambodia – Mary Ann

  • antonio

    This is So Cool! I,also came to be a fan by watching episodes re-run later in the week. I hadn’t really paid much attention to the first season…Something I’d like to remedy,now. I came kind of late to be a fan…Later in season 2. This is just a great show! I certainly Do Not mind paying for quality entertainment!!
    Yes, the series IS for a Mature audience..But Its really Cool!
    It Blows Everything Else Out of the Water! The Networks are really gonna have to work hard this Fall if they want to garner some new viewers!! Un-Freaking-Believable!!
    TB, You Guys Are Awesome!!!