TVB/4As Push For Local TV Station Time-Shifted Ratings

For TV stations, there are renewed efforts to push for replacing the still standard Nielsen live-only program measure with a metric that includes some time-shifting viewing.

The TVB (the TV station advertising group) and the 4As (American Association of Advertising Agencies) have issued an analysis on replacing live-only program measure with live program plus one day of time-shifted viewing (L1).

“Live-only in local markets inadequately represents present-day consumption patterns when compared to national deliveries,” says an analysis issued by the 4As on January 11.

For a long time, TV station ad executives have complained that with time-shifted viewing now part of regular TV consumer behavior, media agencies and advertisers also need to change to new local TV measures -- much as national TV networks have done with commercial ratings -- with the help of Nielsen.  

Nielsen has no commercial ratings for local TV stations.

The 4As also says that “as national buyers migrate to C7 ratings [the average commercial ratings plus seven days of time-shifted viewing] from C3 to account for current TV consumption patterns, it should be noted that live plus one ratings at the local level tie closely to C7 ratings [on the national level] on an index basis.”

The analysis says, for example, that adult 25-54 viewing indices of live plus one day of time-shifted viewing were 107 (in 2016-2017 TV season) and 108 (in 2015-2016). This compares to 104 for C7 (the average commercial ratings plus seven days of time-shifted viewing) for each of the 2016-2017 and 2015-2016 TV seasons.

By contrast, live-only program ratings were at a 76 index (2015-2016) and a 77 (2016-2017).

The findings came from a TVB analysis of Nielsen NPOWER data, looking at prime-time (Monday-Saturday 8-11 p.m.; Sun 7-11 p.m.) in 25 local people meter markets for five networks in 25-54 ratings for TV season September 21, 2015 through May 25, 2016 versus September 19, 2016 through May 24, 2017.

The 4As' recommendation was that “the live[-only program] data would still be tabulated and available through Nielsen, just not as a published stream.”

A Nielsen rep added: "We support the TVB and 4A’s recommendations for enhanced data streams that go beyond live and same-day viewing, and better reflect the daily and time-shifted viewing habits of consumers."

In past years, media agency executives have said time-shifted programming includes around 50% of TV commercial-skipping -- something clients should not pay for, especially with Nielsen program-type ratings.

Around seven years ago, TV stations made a big push for the industry to include some time-shifted ratings used as the basis for TV marketers’ media buys.

5 comments about "TVB/4As Push For Local TV Station Time-Shifted Ratings".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, January 16, 2018 at 8:03 a.m.

    Everyone knows that local TV ratings by virtue of being based on quarter hour total audience present an inflated picture of potential commercial audience---probably 5-10% higher than real. Unless this situation in metered markets is corrected, adding in delayed viewing merely compounds the problem. Doesn't the 4A's understand that?

  2. Darrin Stephens from McMann & Tate, January 16, 2018 at 9:22 a.m.

    Local commercials tend to be clustered in the lower-rated portions network programs (primetime adjacencies, the last half hour of Early Morning shows, halftime of sporting events, etc) and the last ten minutes of the 11pm news. Live plus one will further compound the already inflated ratings for presumed commerical minute viewing.

  3. Paula Lynn from Who Else Unlimited, January 16, 2018 at 10:50 a.m.

    Ratings are a gauge, not an absolute. Start there. It's OK.

  4. John Harpur from Yellow Submarine, January 16, 2018 at 12:08 p.m.

    Many years ago, I estimated that local Live - Same Day ratings to be close to the national C-3 ratings. I think Live SD is a reasonable compromise. Let's not forget that that the national C-3 commercial ratings for live and especially play back are inflated as well. Paula Lynn's is a reasonable voice as well, so long as negotiators negotiate off of rate and not ratings in the transition. The bigger issue here is that stations and buyers are consistent with a standard. There are too many sleazy buying services ready to shamelessly pounce on your client's business over cost per point.  

  5. John Harpur from Yellow Submarine replied, January 16, 2018 at 12:24 p.m.

    Ha, make that shamefully too. 

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