FX's American Horror Story neo-gothic psychodrama and USA Network's Covert Affairs were the year's biggest TV ratings beneficiaries from time-shifted viewing, with each show garnering about a 95% increase in viewers within seven days after air thanks to DVRs, according to Nielsen.
Cable networks represented nine out of the top 10 time-shifted shows, with the only broadcast program -- Fox's Fringe -- landing in ninth place on the list.
However, advertisers typically pay only for impressions delivered within three days of air (Nielsen's C+3), so the measure of a show's popularity past that is basically an incremental selling point for a network.
Nielsen compiled the data from Jan. 1 to Nov. 13, 2011, covering regularly scheduled English- and Spanish-language programs on broadcast and cable that had at least four telecasts and at least a 1.0 "Live+7" rating (meaning it was viewed within seven days after initial air). The percent increase in viewership is based on the difference between Live and Live+7.
The top time-shifted primetime TV programs based on viewer increase over live for 2011 were:
1. FX's American Horror Story: +95.3%
2. USA's Covert Affairs: +95.1%
3. USA's Suits: +94.5%
4. TNT's Franklin & Bash: +92.0%
5. USA's Psych: +90.3%
6. FX's Sons of Anarchy: +85.8%
7. USA's White Collar: +85.6%
8. FX's Justified: +83.9%
9. Fox's Fringe: +80.3%
10. A&E's The Glades: +78.8%