The national TV currency -- commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing -- continues to do the job for TV marketers this season against live program ratings. But problems remain.
A report from Santa Monica, Calif.-based media agency RPA, written by David Scardino, entertainment specialist, states that: "Commercial viewing via delay continues not only to make up for advertising avoidance among live viewers, but actually adds viewers in a range of 2 to 7 index points depending on the demographic."
Looking at all Nielsen C3 TV viewers in the first half of the TV season through January 13 -- all broadcast and ad-supported cable networks gained over Nielsen program live-only data. C3 ratings among 18-49 viewers were at 33.1 million versus 31.5 million when looking at Nielsen program live-only data. On an index basis, that places C3 five index points higher that live program-only.
The numbers are better for other demographics -- 18-34 and 25-49 viewers -- each showing 6 more index points with C3 versus live-only. Through the first half of the TV season, the 18-34 average was 15.4 million under C3 versus 14.5 million for live program. The same was true for older viewers 25-54 -- 35.2 million for C3 versus 33.6 million for live program.
Scardino adds that there has been a drop in total viewers among key adult demographics for both broadcast and cable through the first half of the TV season when looking at this season's C3 ratings, compared to last season's.
Among key 18-49 viewers in C3 data, broadcast networks collectively dropped to 10% to 11.7 million versus 12.9 million through January 13. Total viewers were down 7% to 31.2 million from 33.5 million.
Cable had its problems, too -- although adults 18-49 C3 numbers were down somewhat less than broadcasters, 2%, to 21.4 million from 21.8 million. Young viewers 18-34 were down 4% to 10.4 million.
In cable's favor overall total average viewers are slightly up, says Scardino, 1% to 53.3 million in Nielsen C3. But that growth occurred almost entirely among smaller and midsize network, beneath the top 25. Networks under the top 25 -- 26 through 100 -- grew 2% in total viewers to 18.0 million, while the top 25 networks were flat at 35.3 million.
Young demographics showed also showed a better story for small and mid-size cable networks -- a 3% gain to 7.4 million in C3 among 18-49 and up 5% to 3.5 million among 18-34. By comparison, top 25 networks were down 4% to 13.97 million 18-49ers and off 8% to 6.9 million 18-34 viewers.