NBC To Release Daily Digital Video Estimates Of TV Shows

PASADENA, CALIF. — Pushing forward efforts to include as much nontraditional TV viewership as possible, NBC says it will now release daily digital video prime-time viewership estimates of TV shows airing the previous night.

The new daily data will be included with live program-plus-seven days of time-shifting data — L7 plus digital — says Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development for NBCUniversal. 

The digital estimates for TV viewing will come from tablets and other devices that are not measured by Nielsen. This includes: PC/laptop, tablet, smartphone, game console, OTT device, smart TV, Blu-Ray, video-on-demand after 4 days; DVR after seven days and out of home.

In a presentation at the Television Critics Association meeting here, Wurtzel said NBC would disclose on a daily basis initial live program-plus-same day ratings, as well as expected three-day, seven-day, and digital viewing estimates.



Nielsen’s slow-moving efforts around digital viewing have been an issue for NBC’s move — as well as other networks.

“Of course, we want cross platform (data), and of course we want Nielsen to do it,” says Nielsen. “We just can’t hang around and whine about the fact they are not doing it. We got to understand what is going on with the tools we have today.”

Wurtzel showed how specific NBC shows — including "The Blacklist,” “Parks & Recreation” and “Constantine” — rose in total viewership. It's not just from a week’s worth of time-shifting, but also what is added when from digital TV viewing.

For example, looking at the “The Blacklist” so far this season, the show has averaged a Nielsen live-plus-same day 2.7 rating among 18-49 viewers. But adding in three days of time-shifting totaled a 4.2 number; adding on seven days to the live-only ratings brings the total to 4.6. 

Topping this off, NBC tacked on another 1.0 rating point from digital devices and/or platforms, bringing the total to a 5.6 rating during that seven-day period. 

NBC’s viewing data for these shows come from Nielsen, Rentrak, Omniture, and the Hulu Portal for 18-49 viewers, and alternate platform data through 35 days.

Wurtzel says adding digital is important since it can amount to significant gains a whopping 37% for “Parks & Recreation”; 17% of the “The Blacklist” total ratings. “Parks & Recreation,” for the 2013-2014 season, grew from a 1.2 rating to a total of 2.7 rating -- with 1.0 rating coming from digital. 

Even the lowly “Constantine” benefited greatly. The show averaged a 0.98 rating among 18-49 after its premiere when looking at live plus same day. It lifted to a total of 2.04 when looking at the live program-plus-seven days of time-shifting and digital. 17% of its total week long ratings came from digital devices/platforms.

“Much of the growth going forward will be with digital platforms,” says Wurtzel. “But just because we can’t measure it doesn’t mean it is not happening. 

4 comments about "NBC To Release Daily Digital Video Estimates Of TV Shows".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 19, 2015 at 7:48 a.m.

    It's perfectly fair for the broadcast TV networks and cable channels to get credit for---and paid for---every viewer they "deliver" to an advertiser's ad message, regardless of whether this happens the same day the telecast airs or seven days later. The agency contention that "late" viewers may not be as valuable because of "timing" factors is absolute nonsense as they buy multiple spots in many telecasts in a typical schedule and these overlap across time. So why does it matter if 25% or 50% of the "viewers" of one announcement are attained "late" when those who "watched" other spots are added into the tallies? Except in the most unusual circumstances, it doesn't matter. NBC's decision to release the data , described above, is obviously part of a campaign to get more dollars out of its primetime programming, which, like the other broadcast networks, is suffering ongoing "live" rating fragmentation. Fair enough. However, buyers and sellers alike must consider whether the other sources being melded in, are compatible with Nielsen's peoplemeter panel's findings. For example, if set top box data is used, how does one determine who in the household watched? The same thing applies to "digital" data. Who is "watching". I'm sure that Nielsen's program writing elves in Florida are hard at work trying to incorporate all viewing sources into the company's national rating projections. It's fine to prod Nielsen along but these things take time and the risk of doing it too fast is a breakdown of service. If that happens, the industry's precious rating "currency" may be compromised and that would be a true debacle. The "spice" must flow.

  2. John Grono from GAP Research, January 19, 2015 at 6:01 p.m.

    Ed, there are many valid examples of why an advertiser would not want to pay for 'time-shifted' ad views (not that many people who time shift watch the ads). For example, cinema releases here in Australia are always on a Thursday. So if someone recorded the Sunday night programme but didn't watch it until Thursday, the ad for the movie is now useless as there is now a new movie (there is 'value' to the content owner but not the cinema owner). Also, in a high-value category, having just started a new year, car dealers are keen to shift 2014 plates off their yards to make way for 2015 stock, so we have lots of "4-day 2014 plate clearance sales" - so when the ad is viewed is very important to them. Also, we need to be aware of what the 'digital views' to be reported are - and how closely they replicate the 'currency' of average minute audience. If, for example, they are stream - or even stream start - data the reported data will be MUCH higher and not comparable. In such a scenario, sure the data can be reported but it must be clearly identified as 'being different', and it can't be simply added to the average minute audience data.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 19, 2015 at 6:12 p.m.

    John, aside from the movie example you cited, I'm hard pressed to come up with many other examples where delayed audiences in primetime have no value due to the "timing" factor. And it should also be noted that the networks have long exploited the movie advertisers' insistence that their commercials run only on certain nights by creating a special and much higher "movie rate" which basically nullifies any timing advantage they might have gained. I believe that the vast majority of national TV ad campaigns, which involve many spots bought on many shows and telecasts, should have no problem garnering "value" from viewers "reached" a few days after the "live" telecasts. A few exceptions should not dictate the rules for the majority. In this case, I believe that the TV networks and cable channels have a solid case.

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, January 19, 2015 at 6:55 p.m.

    Ed I totally agree that the few should not dictate to the many, and that is not what I am suggesting. But surely in this day and age, with peoplemeter panels it should be possible for a client (even at a premium - or within their negotiated Ts & Cs) to be able to analyse and report on the data over a specific set of dates rather than a cookie-cutter rule of convenience. That rule (of course) would be the official rating for publicity and ranking purposes.

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