Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Commercial Measurement Beyond C3

CIMM is taking a pro-active role in advancing new media nomenclature and processes with both its 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 common currency for commercial measurement is C3, which we defined in a previous column earlier this year as the average of the performance of all commercials in a program plus three days of DVR playback. But there are other commercial measurement metrics in use by measurement companies today. Here is a sampling of some of the more common terms and definitions regarding live commercial ratings.

Commercial Ratings



See also: Rating

CIMM DEFINITION: Percent of homes or viewers who tuned into a commercial out of the specified universe of homes or viewers whether their sets were in use at the time or not. Commercial ratings can be average minute or, with second-by-second Set-Top-Box data, on an average second rating level.

2: Commercial rating defines the average second audience for the specified commercial/advertisement. Rating is calculated as the total tuned seconds divided by the total possible tuned seconds for the content and time period specified. (Source: TRA

NOTE - How granular does the Set-Top-Box data need to be - One second? Five second? More? And then what about Latency, which can make accurate measurement at the one second level difficult.

Commercial Live Rating

See also: Rating

CIMM DEFINITION: A commercial rating viewed live in a linear fashion, that is, without any trick play.

2: Percentage of STBs or STB Households tuned to a specific commercial without timeshifting. (Source: Nielsen)

NOTE - Can only measure “Opportunity to See,” as opposed to actual confirmed viewing. (Source: TIVO)

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



1 comment about "Set-Top-Box Lexicon: Commercial Measurement Beyond C3".
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  1. Bill Duggan from ANA, February 9, 2012 at 9:15 p.m.

    Marketers are optimistic on the future application of set-top box data to help guide television media purchasing decisions. That is one of the key findings in the latest ANA/Forrester Research survey that asked national advertisers about their attitudes towards television and video advertising and the impact new technologies will have on their advertising budgets.

    Seventy-two (72%) percent of marketers believe the quality and accuracy of set-top box data will improve in the next few years. Meanwhile, 48% feel the same about Nielsen audience ratings. See full results here --

    The survey also asked, “What sources of data do you trust to make TV media purchasing decisions?” A 10-point scale was used ranging from ‘don’t trust at all’ (#1 on the scale) to ‘trust greatly’ (#10 on the scale). Set-top box data held its own on this metric as well.
    • 31% were in the top three boxes for set-top box data being a trusted source
    • 38% were in the top three boxed for Nielsen Media Research being a trusted source

    This is interesting given that Nielsen has been the long-term currency for the television industry. However, more recently advertisers and agencies have expressed keen interest in the data potentially available from set top boxes. ANA members, for example, have been clear about their interest in brand-specific commercial ratings—not just the average rating for all commercials in a program, currently provided by C3, but the actual ratings for each individual commercial. Set-top box data could potentially be a pathway to brand-specific commercial ratings.

    The detailed findings from the ANA/Forrester survey will be debuted at the ANA TV & Everything Video Forum on February 16 in NYC.

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