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DVRs and VOD give three new FBI dramas a big boost in ratings

Three new FBI-related crime shows from three different networks have been demonstrating big audience gains, all thanks to video on-demand, DVRs, and other methods of delayed enjoyment, according to new Nielsen data.

ABC’s new FBI training series Quantico tops those charts, with a dramatic 70 percent increase in viewership when stats include delayed viewers, going from 7.1 million total viewers on September 27 to 12.2 million just seven days later.

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ABC might be the winner statistically, but two other networks are also doing quite well. NBC’s Blindspot, in which a woman with amnesia discovers that every tattoo on her totally inked body relates to a crime, follows a close second in percentage increase, but has more viewers. The show gained 56 percent of its audience after a week, for a total viewer base of 16.6 million.

CBS’s new super-pill fueled crime show Limitless, a small screen adaptation of a 2011 film starring Bradley Cooper, came in third in terms of increases, but still showed a 45 percent gain in audience when given the week. The show has a total audience of 14.3 million, all things considered, putting it second behind Blindspot, and with 2.1 million more viewers than Quantico.

Delayed viewership is a good sign for any new series, and can be seen as an indication of more dedicated fan base. Drama and sitcom series have long been the most watched shows on delay, with anywhere from a third to half of viewers typically tuning in after the shows originally air.

The fact that viewers are dedicated enough to record and watch a new series the week it airs, or to seek it out through on-demand services, is a big vote of confidence for the network’s hosting the shows. ABC, for example, recently announced an order for six new episodes of Quantico.

That said, part of the reason behind the significant statistical jump seen on certain shows does have to do with time slot. For a series like Quantico that airs on Sunday evenings, when many would-be viewers are preparing to return to work the following day, those increases are bound to be larger.