Doctor Who Ratings Rise in the US, Fall in the UK

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Doctor Who Ratings Rise in the US, Fall in the UK

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There's good news and bad news for the Doctor, but which news he gets depends on where he is.

"The Impossible Astronaut," the premiere of season six of Doctor Who has managed the impressive feat of being both the highest and the lowest rated season premiere since the show relaunched in 2005. US ratings were higher than they've ever been, but unfortunately, in the UK, the reverse is true.

BBC America reports that the episode received the highest ratings ever for the network, with 1.3 million viewers either watching live, or watching on DVR the same day. This is up 71,000 views from the channel's previous best, which was the premiere of season five of Doctor Who, last April. In the UK, however, the show had an average audience of 6.5 million, over two million less than the next lowest, the opener for season two, "New Earth." The BBC notes that that figure does not include people who watched the show on DVR, but still says that the episode is still unlikely to match, let alone beat, its predecessors.

While the figures seem a little bleak, at least on the Eastern side of the Atlantic, it's worth noting that not only was it a four-day weekend in the UK, but it was also very warm and sunny. It's quite likely that a lot of people decided to stay out in the sun, or were simply making good use of the long weekend and good weather by taking a weekend break. It will be interesting to see exactly how the figures change when the iPlayer and DVR numbers are in. While they might not beat previous year's viewing totals, they'll probably be much closer.

Source: via Blastr

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It has nothing to do with the weather.
It's because Rory said 'gasoline'.
The show has gone to hell

EDIT: I am an avid fan of Doctor Who and was very much looking forward to this season. What I meant by 'gone to hell' is that the show is now catering to a different audience than it used to be. See my post further down

tghm1801:
It has nothing to do with the weather.
It's because Rory said 'gasoline'.
The show has gone to hell

I'm willing to meet you half way here. The low ratings in the UK WERE due to the weather, AND the show has gone to hell.

(but shows going to hell doesn't really affect ratings, check out the Simpsons for a prime example)

The show's gone to hell? Huh? Sure, the first of this two parter wasn't all that impressive, but last season was pretty good. Where's all this pessimism come from?

I watch all my BBC shows on iplayer. I wonder if thats the problem?

Russel T. Davies already ruined Doctor Who with his terrible writing and stupid plot lines, it can only go uphill from here. Last season was average, hoping this one will be better.

I'd like to suggest another possible contributing factor: poor promotion and advertisement. They didn't exactly go out of their way to make sure people knew about it in the UK. I'd suggest looking at the ratings of the second episode when it arrives, or look at the number of people who've watched it on the BBC iPlayer since the original screening time to get a more accurate representation.

As Template has also commented, many people are saving on the cost of a TV license by using iPlayer.

I was sitting in the sun. Also I dislike Matt Smith as the Doctor.

Give Rory his due, he was in America so probably scared incase someone got offended and shot him in the face for using a strainge word like petrol.
And yeah, it was a long Easter weekend with summer like weather. Most people here where away for the weekend. This is England. Who fekin knows when we'll have such weather again!?!

IAmTheVoid:
The show's gone to hell? Huh? Sure, the first of this two parter wasn't all that impressive, but last season was pretty good. Where's all this pessimism come from?

I love the last season, don't get me wrong.
It's just gone all... well, let's just say it's catering to a different audience now.
An AMERICAN audience - which is completely different to a BRITISH audience.
For example, compare these two television shows - 'The Office (UK)' and 'The Office (US)'.

Stupid weather, why is it only good over here when we have better things to do than be outside?!?

That is very strange, everyone I know was watching it. Like, everyone.

Well, I streamed it online, and I thought it was pretty good; I know I'm hanging out for the next episode. I wonder what the Australian ratings will be like when it airs here...

tghm1801:

I love the last season, don't get me wrong.
It's just gone all... well, let's just say it's catering to a different audience now.
An AMERICAN audience - which is completely different to a BRITISH audience.
For example, compare these two television shows - 'The Office (UK)' and 'The Office (US)'.

I'm very confused. It doesn't seem all that different to me. What was so different? I'm curious :)

TStormer:
That is very strange, everyone I know was watching it. Like, everyone.

That observation is meaningless unless you tell us how many people you know. Is it 2 or 20 or 200?

6pm.

It was on at 6pm.

Doctor Who shouldn't be used by the BBC to prop up it's shit Saturday night lineup. It should be the centre, the gleaming jewel of the BBC.

Here are the 15 minute breakdowns.

17:30 ..... 1.6 (13.0%)
17:45 ..... 2.2 (16.4%)
18:00 ..... 6.0 (35.3%)
18:15 ..... 6.6 (37.1%)
18:30 ..... 7.0 (37.5%)
18:45 ..... 3.2 (18.5%)
19:00 ..... 3.4 (19.4%)

See that jump? That's Doctor Who.

Now the 5 minutes...

17:55..3.91m
18:00..5.73m
18:05..5.98m
18:10..6.27m
18:15..6.43m
18:20..6.55m
18:25..6.79m
18:30..6.90m
18:35..6.96m
18:40..7.10m
18:45..3.88m

Note 2 things. One is that a 15 minute delay could have nabbed about 0.7 million more views and second note the drop off. People aren't just watching Who because its on. They are watching it because its Who!

Now what did the 11th Hour get on it's first night?

8.0m ..... (38.4%)

See that? About a single % less. It just shows that so many fewer people were watching TV. 1.5 million people didn't abandon Who, they abandoned ALL TV!

Not only that but it was the highest rated non-soap/reality show on during the whole week!

It did well. Ignore the media.

well it was a sunny day, so most people really would have just gone outside instead, especially with how much episodes are repeated and all that,everyone i know who watched it, used i-player

tghm1801:
It has nothing to do with the weather.
It's because Rory said 'gasoline'.
The show has gone to hell

EDIT: I am an avid fan of Doctor Who and was very much looking forward to this season. What I meant by 'gone to hell' is that the show is now catering to a different audience than it used to be. See my post further down

ARG! Rory said gasoline instead of petrol! BLASPHEMY!
As an American who was raised on classic Brit coms, I find the reason for your disappointment a little insulting. Yes I read your post further down and I do prefer the American version of 'the Office' (clueless Steve Carell wins over clueless Ricky Gervais). I don't believe however that Doctor Who being tilted toward Americans automatically makes it bad. The British audience was still five times the size of the American one. Now if they REALLY wanted to cater to an american audience, they'd make it a sonic power-drill instead of a sonic screw driver.

THAT would be blasphemy.

Well, I was out in the sunshine, so I iPlayer'd it, but damn near everyone I know was watching it.

I was simultaneously amused, annoyed and interested. I will keep watching.

£500 says the reason it was rated so high in the US was because it was based in the US. Yanks take nationa... erm... "patriotism" to new extremes =p

forsinain42, that's fantastic- I'm surprised they still rely on viewing figures as opposed to relative percentages. If the BBC were an advertisement-funded channel, that might matter more, but only in the sense that the channel is being watched less. Looking at the percentages, the show is definitely performing.

If I recall correctly, it was still nice and sunny at 6pm on Saturday, so I'm not surprised many people didn't watch it live and recorded it instead.

Case in point, my Mum asked me to record it for her (so I didn't watch it live either) because at the time it was broadcast she was enjoying the evening Sun, bobbing around on our boat in Devon (200+ miles away) and having a barbecue on the beach.

Regardless of the weather, 6pm is a little too early for most people and if anyone worked a full day on Saturday, it would be unlikely that they made it home in time to watch it live.

If a flagship new series gets less than expected viewing figures when it's broadcast at 8pm in December, then maybe you could start to worry and draw negative conclusions from the figures.

tghm1801:

IAmTheVoid:
The show's gone to hell? Huh? Sure, the first of this two parter wasn't all that impressive, but last season was pretty good. Where's all this pessimism come from?

I love the last season, don't get me wrong.
It's just gone all... well, let's just say it's catering to a different audience now.
An AMERICAN audience - which is completely different to a BRITISH audience.
For example, compare these two television shows - 'The Office (UK)' and 'The Office (US)'.

I don't see that in Doctor Who at all. After all, why would it cater to the smaller audience? Even if it's become more popular in the U.S, they still had far less viewers. We had roughly 6 times as many viewers as America, they're not going to switch focus yet.

A number of people Ive talked to where annoyed at a perceived "americanisation" of the show.

Also, I'm a bit disappointed that Britain (population: circa 62 million) can drum up 7 million live viewers on a nice day, while the USA (population 307 million, in 2009 anyway, 5 times as much) only managed 3.5 million. Doctor Who is 10 times more popular over here?

Pretty simple reason.

It was broadcast at 6pm Saturday here. So not only on the weekend everyone was out, but on one of the hottest weekends of the year and at a stupid time.

TBH as well, it was a pretty weak episode. Good but not great.

I've said it before and I mean it.

On the one hand Gasoline and River bloody Song.

On the other it had Mark Sheppard in it.

It balances a bit but the second half would want to be damn good.

Logan Westbrook:
While the figures seem a little bleak,

I'm sorry, but I don't think 10% of a countries population watching a program (and 37% of the total viewing public as Forsinain shows) makes the figures "A little bleak". Considering in most countries it would be counted as a Niche program (Sci-Fi Action Comedy) I think the figures are fantastic.

Also, as you pointed out in the article, few families (the target audience) are going to be in during a 4 day weekend when is 25c and Sunny.

This probably a result of Doctor Who's new direction from the original way it was presented which made it so popular in the UK in the first place, so since it has change the original fans don't like it so much. Russell T. Davies didn't write the best Doctor Who series' but he did adapt to include a wider audience without losing the core principle of the show: The Doctor is Awesome and can do anything with style weather it be wearing a scarf, celery or even a bow tie.

HankMan:
I don't believe however that Doctor Who being tilted toward Americans automatically makes it bad.

It really does.

It's like Paul Bunyan wearing a Redcoat. Canadian Mounties using boomerangs. Bobby Kotick joining Jack Thompson.

While not bad as such, it's so horrifically reality shattering that you can't come back from that.

I'm trying to think of a more contemporary American version, but if you can imagine Obama referring to Fries as Chips.

I notice a lot of us watched it after it aired, frankly fuck staying in on a day like Saturday for TV!

I liked the season premiere, but maybe that is because I am American.

I thought it was a great episode and one of the best I've seen(thanks Steven Moffat, now somebody fire Russel T Davies and we might have something decent to work with). That said I must have missed all the advertising for it as I didn't even realise it was happening until the day before when I caught a teaser while channel hopping. I also watched it time-shifted (tech term for Sky+) because I had a barbeque to attend so yeah, probably slightly to do with the weather.

Also I didn't even notice the use of the word "gasoline" and I don't give a shit.

Yeah, the episode was kinda weak in my opinion... it tried to go for a big 'wow' factor, but... kinda didn't really work. Still, its only the start of the season yet, so lets see if it improves :)

Doctor Who started again?
Meh, I lost interest when halfway through David Tennant's last series.
Besides, if there are people using 'Gasoline' in it now, there goes the last % chance I might watch it again.

I was outside enjoying my arse off in the heat, and will likely be doing so again today.
Easter Holidays end a week later for my school, bitches.

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