Does Fall TV Premiere Season Still Matter?

As more and more people gravitate toward streaming services and DVR, many are wondering whether traditional ratings systems are still relevant.

Does Fall TV Premiere Season Still Matter?
Fox / "Gotham"

As the fall premiere season kicks into high gear for network TV, some are asking if it even matters anymore. 

That's not to say there isn't a huge list of new shows coming to television sets this season. But maybe that initial premiere isn't as important as it used to be when predicting a show's success. 

The New York Times writes, "Some in the industry wonder why there is a notion of a season kickoff at all because television programming is increasingly about timelessness and freedom of choice, with viewers deciding when they will watch programs."

The growth of streaming services like Netflix could be partially to blame for that shift because people have grown more accustomed to watching shows on their own schedules. 

The five major networks are now issuing rating projections based on the first three and first seven days after a show premieres instead of that initial premiere night.

And those numbers are certainly more promising. Fox's new reality series "Utopia" saw views rise by 50 percent over the first three days since its premiere, largely thanks to delayed viewing via DVR.

A writer for Deadline points out premiere-week ratings simply indicate which shows viewers watched first, not where they'll stay for the entire season. 

And it appears some networks aren't overly concerned about premiere season taking up viewers' attention.

This year, FX is running the final season of "Sons of Anarchy" right in the middle of all the premiere season chaos and receiving good ratings, too. 

AMC also chose to air the series finale of its megahit "Breaking Bad" on the first Sunday of the network season.

So why does all this matter?

Variety reports advertisers spent 5 to 10 percent less than usual this year when buying space for the upcoming season. That could be because they're saving that money for other avenues such as online video advertising.

But Advertising Age speculates it could be because they're waiting to purchase space closer to the air date when they might have a better handle on where the viewers are. 

Regardless, industry experts still think premiere season is good for the industry overall, bringing viewers' eyes to a business that needs all the attention it can get.