CBS proudly proclaimed its top performing programs get more viewers than they did 15 years ago. In a world of cord-cutting, Netflix, Hulu, and YouTube, that’s a strong statement.
Ah, but the devil – as the say – is in the details.
It’s true that 16 years ago, “Everybody Loves Raymond” had a viewing audience of 20.8 million people. And it’s true that in the fall of 2016, “Big Bang Theory” on CBS had a viewing audience of 22.2 million. But here’s the detail: The “Raymond” number was people viewing the program live that night. The “Big Bang” number counts viewing over a 35-day period including live broadcast, DVR, VOD, and various streams.
In total, CBS says it counts 12.61 million viewers, on average, for 2016 entertainment programs compared to 12.61 million in the 2000-2011 season.
Still, it shows that quality entertainment still attracts a mass audience. It’s just fragmented in different places.
Big Bang Theory image by Source, Fair use, https://en.wikipedia.org/w/index.php?curid=49492868