Every week, daytime soap ratings seem to drop to new lows. Shows are doing noticeably worse than they were just a year ago.
Fans are quick to blame less than great writing and poor publicity. The explanation may be far simpler. A lot more daytime fans are using DVRs to record their shows and watch later.
According to the most recent Nielsen ratings, so far this season daytime soaps averaged a whopping +41% increase among the all important Women 18-49 demographic versus live ratings. Last season, the percentage gain was only +27%. The most DVR’d soaps are: ‘General Hospital‘ (+58%), ‘Days of Our Lives‘ (+50%) and ‘The Young & The Restless‘ (+48%).
This trend towards recording and watching later, which mirrors the viewing patterns of many primetime shows, could account for most of the year-to-year ratings decline. Soaps are likely to be recorded and watched later both because they air at inconvenient times and because many soap fans have a tendency to fast forward through characters and storylines that do not interest them.
Even Live +1 day ratings increase the W18-49 numbers by an average of + 26%. Networks and Advertisers are still figuring out how to factor in DVR ratings when they set advertising rates, but it is encouraging that there are a lot more people watching daytime that the live Nielsen ratings indicate.