nScreenMedia OTT multiscreen media analysis

FXX’s Dave, a TV hit driven by Hulu?

live TV viewing Q3 2018 Q3 2019 by age group

FXX’s new comedy Dave is doing well, with an average audience for the first five episodes of 5 million. However, only 5% of the audience watched the show live. The rest were probably watching on-demand on Hulu!

FXX’s Dave a hit despite

Where the audience is viewing the FXX show Dave is perhaps the most graphic illustration of the dramatic shift in the audience over the last five years. The comedy starring Dave Burd – known as Lil Dicky – has done very well since its launch on March 4th, attracting an average total audience of 4.8 million viewers for the first five episodes. However, less than 5%, or 217,000, watched the show live on pay TV. The show also benefited from the increase in viewing due to shelter-in-place orders. FX said the show added 1.2 million viewers since March 20th, though the live audience for the March 25th episode increased a paltry 11,000, or 5%.

Dave viewers likely not using a DVR to watch

Looking at Nielsen’s Q3 2019 Total Audience Report, it is easy to see why so few people watch Dave on live TV. The show’s core audience, in the 18-34-year-olds range, watch TV the least of any age group. In Q3 2019, the average 18-34 viewed 1 hour and 24 minutes of live TV per day, down 17% from the same period in 2018. What’s more, the group watches just 11 minutes of time-shifted TV per day.

Nielsen says that 70% of 18-34s watch at least some live and time-shifted TV, but only 36% view shows time-shifted. In other words, DVRs and pay TV on-demand systems are not used at all by the majority of younger adults. So, if most of Dave’s audience is watching the show delayed, and most of the show’s audience doesn’t use pay TV operator DVRs and on-demand systems, where are they watching? Hulu!

time-shifted TV viewing Q3 2018 Q3 2019 by age group

Most Dave viewing taking place on Hulu

There are several places a viewer can watch Dave. With a pay TV subscription, a viewer can use FXNOW. However, most 18-34-year-olds don’t have one. The show is also available to rent for $1.99 per episode from iTunes, Amazon, and several other providers. However, the place most 18-34s will watch it is on Hulu.

At the beginning of March 2020, FX launched as a featured channel on Hulu. FX on Hulu brings together 40 of the channels most popular shows, a collection of classics, and original shows. New cable shows are also available the day after they are aired on the FX and FXX channels. The timing of the launch of FX on Hulu couldn’t have been better for Dave since the first episode would have been available on Hulu on March 5th.

Hulu has 30.4 million subscribers, and all of them have access to Dave. Hulu’s most popular and cheapest plan costs $5.99 per month, and subscribers can watch all on-demand titles in the library with a light ad load. According to the service, most people are on the entry-level plan.  Also, the average age of a subscriber is 32, right in the target age group for the show.

Why it matters

Younger audiences continue to migrate their viewing online.

New TV programs targeting the younger viewers are now getting most of their audience from online TV platforms.


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