Hate Nielsen Ratings? Make Your Own -- Or Perhaps Your Own Branded TV Sets

You need the right sales strategy. But if that doesn’t work, why not change the game -- and the rules.

So here’s a recent headline: “Tired of Low Ratings, CW Is Developing Its Own Measurement System.”

Quite understandable. But every network is tired of something. We can imagine all networks are “tired of low ratings.”

For years, networks have created their own measures attached to specific audiences and behaviors. Networks have sliced and dicd up TV viewers to show off their best sides -- and matched them to specific purchasing power statistics. More recently, this has included “engagement” measures.

Recently, ABC said it does well with the top 30% of consumers who are responsible for 80% of sales. Nielsen helped ABC glean the numbers and “ratings” for this. For years, NBC has said it does well with affluent viewers. There are “ratings” for that. CBS still tells you those 25-54 audiences are perhaps more valuable than 18-49, the current all-important measure for many marketers. And there are measures for it.



And when you look at digital media platforms? Just multiply these measures by perhaps several thousand different metrics. While many decry that this has been holding back online advertising efforts, others have argued against “standard” measures.

Still, marketers have always pushed for media standards or “currencies” that can easily compare media channels and platforms.  So in TV, we have the popular C3 (commercial ratings plus three days of time shifted ratings) among 18-49 viewers for major upfront advertisers to mull over.

Of course, the CW headline misses an important point. You may create your own “ratings,’ but which, if any, marketers will come running to buy?

We know that the CW story can be a complicated one. The network targets mostly women 18-34, a segment that heavily multi-tasks – texting, social media, and even talking on the phone -- while watching CW shows.  The TV watching itself on CW is also complicated -- decreasingly on a live basis and increasingly on a time-shifted basis – and not always through DVRs.

The bigger, more complicated story, isn’t about ratings. The real headline for all networks should be: “Tired of Low Revenue, Networks Look to Make More Money.”

For example, instead of making their own ratings, let them make their own TV sets -- with specific pre-selected “favorite” channels already included.

1 comment about "Hate Nielsen Ratings? Make Your Own -- Or Perhaps Your Own Branded TV Sets ".
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  1. Douglas Ferguson from College of Charleston, May 18, 2012 at 6:33 p.m.

    Any advertiser that trusts a ratings system designed by the party whom it benefits is just stupid. Ratings need to be independent of those being measured. Maybe Nielsen has issues, but I thought the Media Ratings Council had oversight, not the networks.

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