Ad Rates and Ratings--First Seasons of The Middle, The Goldbergs, and Modern Family

The Ratings Junkie Wednesday, December 23, 2015
Over the past several weeks, I've been trying to approximate ideal A18-49 numbers for a show based on their relative estimated ad rates. Keep in mind the formula is very rough and probably needs work, but probably doesn't have too significant a margin of error. So far, I've only done so for this season's shows--but what were some recent hits valued at when they first arrived to the scene?

ABC Comedy Wednesday

Back when it first started in 2009, AdAge's estimation of The Middle's ad rate was $97,812, lower than everything scripted Sunday-Thursday except for Castle and DOA Hank, and pretty much tied with The Forgotten. With ABC's average ad rate that season amongst fall scripted series being $134,573, and their 2008-09 A18-49 scripted average being a 2.9, The Middle's ideal demo for its first season would be a 2.11. It slightly overachieved, finishing the season with a 2.28 average--though if you look at the trend, it posted a handful of numbers in the 1.9-2.2 range in the fall before growing in the spring to the 2.3-2.5 area, most likely because it didn't have Hank leading into it any longer.

With an ad rate of $130,388, Modern Family's ideal demo number would be about a 2.81. Its actual number, a 3.76, was WAY higher, but it's better to be safe than sorry in terms of freshmen shows' ad rates. 

In 2013, The Goldbergs premiered with an estimated ad rate of $108,180. With ABC's previous season's scripted average being a 2.2 A18-49 rating, the average ad rate for a scripted series in 2013-14 was $129,217 (note how close it is to the 2009-10 average; ratings may have fallen but ad prices have not). Anyways, that would put The Goldbergs at an ideal demo of a 1.84. Its actual average of a 1.68 underachieved slightly--just about as much as lead-in Marvel's Agents of SHIELD did. Following The Goldbergs that season was poor Trophy Wife--a show that had a lower ad rate than every scripted show that season except for Friday comedies Last Man Standing (barely) and The Neighbors--yes, even Lucky 7 and Betrayal were set higher. That show's ideal demo would be just a 1.37, a number it didn't even manage to live up to.

In summary:
-The Middle did a 2.28, and was estimated at a 2.11
-Modern Family did a 3.76, and was estimated at a 3.76
-The Goldbergs did a 1.68, and was estimated at a 1.84

What are your thoughts on this? This is more for interest than anything else, but I still thought it was worthwhile. 

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