Commentary

TV Viewing Metrics Get Bigger - And Fuzzier

While TV networks wait for more perfectly unified TV viewer stats -- from connected TV and other areas -- one not-insignificant bump will hit TV networks starting next year.

That's thanks to Nielsen, which is including out-of-home viewing in its traditional TV measurements. Joe Ianniello, acting president/CEO of CBS, thinks major sports events, for one, will see a bump.

Last year’s Super Bowl, for example, added 10% in viewership -- 11 million viewers, he says. During the company’s recent financial earnings call, Ianniello said out-of-home will get “a significant lift in ratings.”

Ianniello also believes somewhat weaker TV time periods -- like daytime -- will gain as well. “People are watching on their own time wherever they are, and that is a convenience.”

How much of a gain? He didn’t say. No doubt, TV marketers will welcome having more premium video content through more traditional distribution points.

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Many media analysts offer a different value for OOH viewing -- that it might not be a more one-on-one connection versus traditional or other TV-video platforms.

All this goes hand in hand with how TV networks see total TV premium viewership -- specifically, that it isn’t going down as many headlines proclaim. Instead, an individual TV program/episode is just scattered around different platforms.

When including all viewing of a TV network’s program viewing -- on a company’s owned platform or via third parties, on-demand viewing and others -- legacy TV networks' ad selling executives would say everything is pretty much flat.

ABC recently touted strong results of its programming this year when looking at four weeks of time-shifted viewing on its network. This is the Nielsen live program plus 35 days of time-shifted viewing. (ABC says it will no longer release live program/same-day TV ratings.)

Looking far ahead, you may wonder if TV networks aren’t looking to actually play the Netflix game. That is, avoiding viewer performances of TV shows altogether -- or at least changing the equation.

If legacy media companies continue to go deeply in the D2C (direct-to-consumer) market, much financial health will be focused around how much consumers pay directly to their favorite TV networks or TV network groups.

In the meantime, wait for the upfront market to start next year. How many upfront deals will be done at C3, C7 and C35 (average commercial minute ratings plus three, seven, 35 days of time-shifting)?

If those numbers show sharply higher-dollar volume gains -- using whatever evil brew of viewing metrics are available at the time -- all this might signal better days for traditional TV networks.

1 comment about "TV Viewing Metrics Get Bigger - And Fuzzier".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 15, 2019 at 10:58 a.m.

    Wayne, the plain fact is that the PPM passive measurement system only determines if a TV set is on and a particular channel's content is on the screen via an audio signalĀ  embedded in said content ---not whether anyone was "watching" and certsinly not whether the person within electronic "earshot" of the set was paying any attention ---most especially if the content consists of commercials. It can be argued ---with validity---that the audio signal aspect actually misses some of the OOH set usage, however, we certainly can't accecpt the notion of parity between the likliehood of ad exposure in a normal at-home viewing situation and "impressions" garnered in crowded bars, college dorms, fast food eateries, hotel rooms, etc.

    As for accepting long delayed "viewing" as currency for TV buys, that seems only fair in my view---providing the measurements are consistent for all time frames. and platforms.

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