The viewer statistics behind various television shows can both be the source of endless frustration and validation for viewers, critics, and the acting community alike. Numbers at least partially explain why we’ll have to tell future generations about how we tolerated Two and a Half Men for 12 seasons while a critical darling like Community was axed on two different platforms.
A new survey conducted by Katz Media Group is the latest to offer some baffling statistics that may shoot down the theory of “Peak TV.”
The survey polled 500 adults, 51% of whom subscribed streaming services such as Netflix and Hulu, and found the most recognized nominees were still on old-fashioned, broadcast television.
What that translates to in raw numbers is that, despite providing TV gold in the form of Angela Bassett’s character calling Erica Mena’s character a thot during a memorable episode of Master of None, only five percent of the people polled had watched Aziz Ansari’s show.
Among the admittedly small sample size, ABC’s Modern Family reigned supreme, with 56 percent of respondents having previously watched the sitcom. NBC’s This is Us ranked second with 35 percent of those polled having previously watched the show. Essentially, this translates to streaming shows such as The Handmaid’s Tale and Atlanta (both watched by a mere five percent of respondents) lacking across-the-board mainstream popularity.
“The main takeaway here is that we’re seeing fewer and fewer broadcast series nominated for best drama and best comedy,” executive VP of strategy and analytics for Katz Media Group Stacy Schulman told Variety. “But the reality of it is that these other series [on cable and streaming] are very well-received and critically acclaimed, but there’s no critical mass behind them. People are still having a hard time finding them. Many viewers don’t even know that they exist.”
Do we really want to live in a world where Phil Dunphy being passive-aggressive with his neighbors on Modern Family is more recognizable than Atlanta character Paper Boi pistol-whipping a sketchy club owner? According to at least one measurable statistic, we already do.