Having more sources to draw from can help networks and advertisers better gauge viewer reaction to their gambles. But while that may have made their jobs easier to a certain extent, it’s also made them tougher.
How much? Take Optimedia’s annual Content Power Ratings, which look to give advertisers a sense of which shows offer the best bang for their buck. The process involves culling data from a range of sources, covering all kinds of interaction with the content.
Optimedia would like to take into account every touch point, from TV viewing to word of mouth. In 2008, when the Content Power Ratings (CPR) were launched, the agency pulled data from five sources to use alongside its own research. This year, it turned to 11.
It’s not a surprise that Nielsen TV ratings and comScore Media Metrix’s continue to be used. But, nowadays, endeavoring to get a consummate view of a show’s impact includes also turning to Klout, Twitalyzer, Bluefin Labs and GetGlue. And who knows what other data – foot traffic in Times Square with all the promotions there? -- Optimedia could have used while trying to gauge not just how many people watch a show across four screens, but loyalty and advocacy levels.
“American Idol’s” ratings may be down, but it was the leader in the CPR in 2008 and again this year. “Dancing with the Stars” has also maintained its appeal, finishing second back then and third this year.
“The Office” and “House” have fallen out of the top 10, but still rank in the top 15. As its ratings have dropped, “CSI” has gone from fifth to 21st. A bit more surprising, though, is “Grey’s Anatomy” having dropped from third to 15th this year.
Then again, social media has provided all sorts of new insight into just how large a gap can be between a show’s viewership and its performance in other metrics, which can allow advertisers to dig deeper into the borader engagement realm.
Which is where Optimedia thinks the CPR can be helpful. The most glaring example of a would-be viewership-engagement gulf this year comes from “South Park,” a cable show that finished fifth in the CPR rankings, thanks to social media activity. “Family Guy” and “The Simpsons” have similar dynamics with their viewership levels paling beside their CPR rankings at 7th and 11th, respectively.
“Glee’s” on-air ratings aren’t as impressive as they once were, but it finished second in the CPR for the second year in a row, helped by real-time online buzzing
Another cable series, “Jersey Shore,” is 8th in the CPR, while HBO’s “True Blood,” which is available in less than a third of U.S. TV homes, came in 25th.
Can the CPR be more helpful now than in 2008? Unclear, but there’s a whole lot more research now to help people wonder.