Exclusive research: original Roseanne vs. new Roseanne: who was watching?

Roseanne’s return to TV was ratings gold. Now, she’s cancelled, But who was really watching?

The Lotame aiTV team recently wrapped a study examining the audience composition of the original Roseanne series to the brand-new reboot. For the analysis, our aiTV platform, which delivers advanced TV audience targeting, was used to profile viewers based on their digital interests and behaviors.

Here’s what we found.


Lotame’s aiTV platform has access to viewership data from a growing footprint of more than 8 million Internet-connected smart TVs (powered by Inscape). To understand the audience composition of the original Roseanne series, the aiTV team built an audience profile based on who watched original Roseanne reruns – via TV Land – over the past year. Then, we compared that data to who watched the 2018 Roseanne series premiere.

Findings & Results

Overall, those who watch original Roseanne episodes accounted for 21% of the viewership for the new premiere. There were also significant audience composition, interest and behavioral differences between viewers of the series.

  • More lower income households watch the original series (12-20% difference in composition compared to the new Roseanne’s audience)
  • The new series hits the middle demographics more than the original series (35-64), while the original series did better among young and older viewers (3-5% difference in composition)
  • Families with kids watched the new series slightly more (5% difference in composition)
  • Surprisingly (based on all the news about Roseanne’s relationship with President Trump and conservatives tuning in to the premiere), more liberals watched the new series than the 90s re-runs by a large margin (7% difference in composition)
  • The new series’ audience appears to be healthier than those that watch original Roseanne:
    • They buy health & granola bars more (4% difference)
    • Buy vitamins more (2% difference)
    • Buy dieting and weight loss foods and supplements more (3% difference)
  • The new series watchers are also more likely to be pet owners (declared as such and have bought more pet food and pet supplies) (3-5% difference)
  • The new series watchers are also more likely to be coffee, wine, and beer drinkers (2-5% difference)
  • The new series watchers are more likely to be in-market for a new car (all kinds) (5-6% difference)
  • Those that watch the 90s re-runs are more likely to purchase and smoke cigarettes (3% difference)

When the original Roseanne’s audience – according to interests and behaviors – is compared to the new Roseanne’s audience, there were clear differences.

It would have been interesting to see how prolonged these changes would have been or if gaps lessen over time. The number of newer watchers was likely to decrease slightly while more loyal, original Roseanne fans stuck around.

Now, we’ll never know. Instead, Roseanne became another brand safety threat to advertisers. They rightfully had enough and will have to seek her audience elsewhere.

Doug Pollack is the GM of aiTV Products & Innovation at Lotame.

Doug Pollack

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