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SymphonyAM Data Reveals That Streaming Sources Boost Broadcast TV Viewership

Current Seasons Gain Fans Through Streaming Back Seasons

SAN FRANCISCO, CA(26 Apr 2016)

Symphony Advanced Media (SymphonyAM), the leading data technology and research firm that passively measures integrated cross-media consumption, today announced the findings from their report about the positive impact that streaming back seasons has on current broadcast TV shows. The study found that an average of 38 percent of viewers who watched a back season across any platform during the weeks leading up to a season premiere also watched the current season. It also revealed that drama programs are the most likely to have back season viewing and that Netflix is the primary source of most of this back season viewing.

While streaming platforms might concern broadcast TV companies, SymphonyAM's data shows that a gain of up to 11 percent of new viewers of the current season are earned in the early weeks a program is on air, due to back viewing. The study found that a majority of back season binging can be attributed to viewers who began watching a new show but preferred to do so from the first season. This was followed by viewers who wanted a refresh on previous seasons, prior to starting the current one.

"We're seeing changes in viewing behaviors and habits over recent years that is altering the way the entire television industry earns, maintains and loses viewers," said Charles Buchwalter, CEO of SymphonyAM. "But regardless of the massive success of streaming platforms and its content, broadcast and cable TV programs are still garnering strong audience numbers, a portion of which is actually coming from the success of these new viewing methods."

As SymphonyAM tracked the path of viewers, they found that drama programs were the most likely to attract current season viewers through a back season, while sitcoms showed the least overlap of season viewing. Within the drama genre, there was distinction between shows with a strong story arc that played throughout an entire season versus a series with self-contained storylines. Shows such as "How To Get Away With Murder" (ABC), "Empire" (FOX), and "Scandal" (ABC) proved to have the most viewers watching back seasons followed by the current. Each of these programs had at least half of the current season viewers watch some of the previous season in the weeks leading up to the current season premiere. However, crime dramas such as Criminal Minds and NCIS, did not hold as strong a viewership from back season viewing to the current.

SymphonyAM revealed that Netflix is the primary source for viewers who watched back seasons during September 2015, prior to the new fall season kick off, with 38 percent of viewing being consumed from the Netflix platform. Broadcast followed by accounting for 24 percent and VOD represented 17 percent of time spent. 43 percent of back season viewing occurred during primetime hours throughout the week, with family and friend recommendations being the main driver for viewers seeking new content.

SymphonyAM conducted this study using 30 broadcast programs and monitoring the viewing of the most recent back season on any platform as well as the tune-in rate of current season on any platform. Viewing was isolated in the four weeks prior to the current release as well as the four weeks after the current season release for each program. SymphonyAM supplemented this passive analysis with stated data to provide perspective on decision factors in watching back seasons.

About Symphony Advanced Media

Symphony Advanced Media ( is the leading data technology and research firm that passively measures integrated cross-media consumption and resulting behaviors, enabling advertisers, agencies and publishers to optimize media strategies and maximize advertising performance. VideoPulse, launched in September 2015, is the first single-source TV multi-platform measurement service that is able to track video consumption beyond the currently accepted currency. Symphony Advanced Media, a portfolio company of Symphony Technology Group, is based in San Francisco, with offices in New York City and Palo Alto.