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Steve Sternberg

Member since September 2009Contact Steve

Steve Sternberg currently works as a freelance media consultant. He has more then 30 years of television and video analysis experience, having held top research posts at Bozell, TN Media, Magna Global, and ION Media Networks. He also authors The Sternberg Report (

Articles by Steve All articles by Steve

  • People Watch More TV Than Ever -- But Is It All Reported? in TV Everywhere on 12/07/2016

    I conducted a survey of my Facebook friends (a surprisingly diverse group), just as a fun exercise. I asked four simple questions about their DVR, on-demand, and OTT usage. Twenty-five percent of respondents did not have a DVR (the national average is about 50%). Here are the results.

  • How Accurate Are Those Ratings? It's Easy to Find Out  in TV Everywhere on 11/30/2016

    I was one of the founding members of The Council for Research Excellence (CRE), a group of 40 top industry researchers from major Nielsen clients. As part of its Media Consumption and Engagement Committee, I helped spearhead the landmark "Video Consumer Mapping Study," which still stands as the best original research into consumer media habits that I've ever seen.

  • Can Nielsen Really Measure My 17-Year-Old's Media Experiences? in TV Everywhere on 11/22/2016

    Watching my son's interaction with both media devices and content makes me wonder more and more whether a company like Nielsen (or any single entity) can fully measure his media exposure, engagement, and advertising awareness. Heck, I'm not even sure they can accurately measure my media experiences.

  • New Series Report Cards in TV Everywhere on 11/16/2016

    The prime-time TV season has been underway long enough to give us a good handle on how each new show is performing. The following series receive a grade of B or higher. The dramas have one thing in common: There is nothing else like them on television.

  • It's Time To Scrap C3 And Bring Back Program Ratings in TV Everywhere on 11/09/2016

    C3 ratings for most network and prime-time programs are higher than their live program ratings. Let's think about that for a second. Half the country doesn't even have a DVR, yet Nielsen reports that more people watch just the commercial minutes (over three days) of a typical series, than watch the actual program at the time it is broadcast. This is so ridiculous on its face that the industry should stand up as one and scream WTF!

  • Why Netflix Is Still The Best Thing Ever in TV Everywhere on 11/02/2016

    Five years ago, I had just subscribed to NetfIix and wrote an article for MediaPost explaining why I thought it was the best thing ever. Spending an extraordinary amount of money on programming, reportedly $5 billion in 2015 and $6 billion in 2016, has helped Netflix become in five short years everything I expected and more. While it raised its price from $8 to $10 per month, the difference in my monthly credit card bill was not noticeable, and did not make me even think about canceling the service.

  • The Impact Of Binge-Watching in TV Everywhere on 10/26/2016

    What do "The Big Bang Theory," "Family Guy," "The Walking Dead," and "Criminal Minds" have in common? Viewers spent more time watching these shows in prime time last season than any other scripted series on television.

  • What Trump TV Will Mean For Advertisers in TV Everywhere on 10/19/2016

    I remember when the upstart Fox News Channel started to challenge CNN in the ratings. It was the late 1990s, and I was in charge of television research at TN Media. Ironically, it was the Monica Lewinsky scandal and President Bill Clinton's impeachment that drew a lot of new viewers to Fox News in 1998/99. But it wasn't until January 2002 that Fox News surpassed CNN as the cable news network rated number one in total viewers - a position it has basically retained ever since.

  • Listen Up, Marketers: I'm Not My Father in TV Everywhere on 10/12/2016

    A few years ago, I turned 55. After aging out of the mythical 18-49 age group five years earlier, I was now moving out of the key 25-54 demo and into the dreaded and nebulous 55+ category (any demographic group with a "+" at the end is, by definition, nebulous). All of a sudden I was no longer in the target audience for products and services that I still used as much as ever, despite having more disposable income than ever. Too many media and marketing executives see me as though I'm part of my father's generation, with the media and buying habits he displayed when he was in his late 50s, early 60s. I am not. Ignore me and those like me at your own risk.

  • TV Might Be Everywhere -- But Viewers Aren't in TV Everywhere on 10/05/2016

    Throughout the history of television measurement, there was a certain level of cohesion when it came to media access and device ownership. From the inception of television itself, through the introduction of cable, through the development of VCRs and DVRs, almost everyone eventually got almost everything.This made measuring who was using each medium and device (although not necessarily how they were using them), relatively simple. But today's media world is much more splintered.

Comments by Steve All comments by Steve

  • People Watch More TV Than Ever -- But Is It All Reported? by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 12/07/2016)

    Ed, with VCRs Nielsen was only able to measure household recording and ascribed that to all demos.  Thay were never able to measure playback, and I never saw good research that showed how much was taped on VCR was actually played back.Nielsen does measure 35 days of playback now, but you have to pay extra to have access to the data.  I believe for some heavily recorded primetime series show as much as 10% or more playback after 7 days.

  • People Watch More TV Than Ever -- But Is It All Reported? by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 12/07/2016)

    But even then, Nielsen couldn't measure VCR playback.

  • How Accurate Are Those Ratings? It's Easy to Find Out by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 11/30/2016)

    Hi Richard.  I did not mean to imply that the CRE is no longer capable of doing great independent research in the mold of the VCM study.  I've been a vocal advocate of the CRE since its inception.  My point was that irt might be best for a 3rd party to conduct and oversee this type of analysis simply because Nielsen funding a study into how accurate its ratings or ratings of its competitors are will lead to too many perception issues that would affect the "integrity" of the findings in the minds of many people who have not had direct experience with the CRE.And just to correct the record slightly, it is true that the CRE, not Nielsen, selects the projects to pursue.  But when I originally made the proposal, one of the Nieslen reps at the meeting said they would not provide the equipment for such an analysis, so it was actually never voted on.That said, I do think the CRE continues to do vital work, and I will continue to be an ardent supporter of your efforts.  And, of course, I dsagree with your assessment that this type of study would not have tremendous value.

  • How Accurate Are Those Ratings? It's Easy to Find Out by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 11/30/2016)

    You are, of course, correct, but for this analysis, sample composition is not relevant. It is just to discover how accurate the current measurement systems are. Anything beyond that can be done in future analyses.

  • How Accurate Are Those Ratings? It's Easy to Find Out by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 11/30/2016)

    This is true Ed, but it will show which aspects of audience measurement need the most improvement.  And if there are wide gaps in what researchers record as their activity and what Nieslen reports for a single day, we know there is a probem.  After the single day analysis, it can then be decided if it is worth doing for a week or so.

  • Can Nielsen Really Measure My 17-Year-Old's Media Experiences? by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 11/22/2016)

    Yes, it's not just teenagers. But it's especially teenagers. 

  • Research Vet Schwartz Succeeds Scanzoni As GroupM Investment Chief, Will Oversee $30 Billion by Joe Mandese (MediaDailyNews on 11/14/2016)

    Hey Lyle - Very impressed.  Well deserved.  Happy for you.

  • The Impact Of Binge-Watching by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 10/26/2016)

    That' OK Ed, I enjoy a good argument. I've done a good deal of research on this subject. The fact that a show has a low reach and very low average rating and yet has more time spent viewing than almost any show on television by definition means that a small segment of viewers are watching the show over and over again.

  • The Impact Of Binge-Watching by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 10/26/2016)

    Ed, I was referring mostly to cable off-network shows like Big Bang Theory on TBS and Criminal Minds in ION. They air the show all night and people watch them all night. That a Criminal Minds reaches only 15% of all A18-49 in a full season with only a 0.3 average rating and is still the in the top 10 based on time spent viewing represents an extraordinary amount of binge viewing among a small group of viewers. 

  • The Impact Of Binge-Watching by Steve Sternberg (TV Everywhere on 10/26/2016)

    Hi Dougas - I don't think I said everything was rosy.

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