The Shadowhunters season 3 episode 5 ratings are now officially in, and once again we do wish that there was better news to report.
Last week, we expressed some of our concerns that the Freeform drama could start to have some trouble if the live ratings continued to drop; yet, they have done that again with Tuesday night’s episode. The show posted for the second straight week its lowest demo numbers yet in a 0.1 rating in viewers 18-49 — and, to go along with that, also its lowest total-viewer numbers yet in just 296,000.
Let’s get some of the obvious caveats out of the way — Shadowhunters did of course air opposite NCIS, The Voice, The Flash, Roseanne, and a lot of other programming. Meanwhile, it is in the middle of the season where it is understandably harder to generate hype. These things are clear and very much true. We also understand that the show isn’t just generating income from the live ratings alone. There are some lucrative deals out there for streaming the series, there are many people who watch the show after the fact via their DVRs, and there are also plenty who watch the show either via Freeform’s website/app or On-Demand. This is 2018, and we are with that in mind in an era where there are so many different ways in which people can watch television. That is especially true for younger viewers.
Now that we’ve gotten out of the way, let’s reiterate some of what we’ve said already: Live viewing does still matter more than anything else. Television advertising hasn’t caught up yet with the latest trends in viewing and with that, it’s harder to monetize new episodes via other platforms. They matter, but not as much as live viewing. This is still the bread and butter for any show and it’s the biggest indicator of a series’ urgency and value. If someone is willing to take the time out of their day in order to sit down and watch a show with commercials, that matters a lot to them. It also is beneficial for social-media impressions if everyone is watching at the same time.
We still don’t think that these ratings are a sign that Shadowhunters is in grave danger; however, there is going to be a point where it will be if it keeps losing live viewers week and after the week. This is the time to turn the tide and at least level off the audience. We want to see a season 4 happen and to date, viewership in both the demo and total viewers is down more than 30% versus season 2.