Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Time-Shifting


CIMM is taking a pro-active role in advancing new media nomenclature and processes with both the Lexicon(terms and definitions associated with Set-Top Box data measurement) and Asset Identification Primer (glossary of asset terms). These documents form the basis of this column,  which offers a common language for Set-Top Box nomenclature that can expedite the rollout of the data for its many industry applications.

The act of commercial avoidance ("Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Commercial Avoidance") via fast-forwarding is an example of time-shifting behavior. More common however, is program time-shifting for viewing at one’s convenience at a later time. The ability to time-shift has been a boon to viewers but a challenge to content providers, advertisers and researchers who have struggled to find the most significant and accurate metrics to reflect time-shifting behavior. C3 ratings ("Set-Top-Box Lexicon: The DVR Begets C3 Ratings") was one agreed-upon standard metric to reflect commercial viewership plus three days of playback. There are also metrics to measure any content playback within the same day and any playback within the same week.



There is a sidebar issue in this subject: Second-by-second measurement via set-top-box data, not yet a reality but still a possibility, creates an interesting dilemma concerning time shifting measurement. If content is paused for one second, is that then considered time shifted viewing? Stay tuned.

Here are terms associated with Time-Shifting

Time-Shifted Television

See also: Trick Play

CIMM DEFINITION : Content that has been recorded with the intent to view at another time in the future. Also, the playing back of such content.

2 : Recorded or stored program content that is accessed at a time later than the original telecast. Pre-recorded content stored with the intent to tune at future dates. (Source: Nielsen)

3 : The phenomenon of playing back home-recorded TV content. (Source: TRA)


Time-Shifted Tuning

CIMM DEFINITION : Tuning to any pre-recorded content from any digital device. (Source: Nielsen)


Time-Shifted Viewing

See also: Trick Play

CIMM DEFINITION : A form of delayed viewing in which the viewer records a piece of content with the intent of viewing it at some time in the future.


Time-Shifted Commercial Substitution

See also: Dynamic Insertion

CIMM DEFINITION : During time-shifted viewing, original broadcast ads replaced with other video ads. 


Time-Shifted HUT

CIMM DEFINITION : Percentage of homes using television including any trick play viewing, specifically playback, whether based on time of recording or time of playback.

NOTE - Edit rules vary by data processor.

Please refer to the CIMM Lexicon online at for additional information on these and other terms.



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