In both cases, the standard will be "live" viewing plus three days of playback from digital video recorders.
To date, Nielsen has been reporting both "live" only and "live" plus seven days of playback audiences in its local TV ratings. And while it's unclear which of those has been the standard for local TV advertising buys, some agency executives said "live" plus seven days of playback had quietly become the local TV advertising currency, much to the chagrin of some advertisers - especially time-sensitive retailers who depend on their ad messages being seen when they are originally broadcast.
"It's an improvement over live plus seven," Janice Finkel-Greene, executive vice president-director of futures and technology at Initiative North America, said following Nielsen's announcement that it was contemplating the change in January.
Finkel-Greene is among those who believe local and national spot advertisers would rather have live-only, commercial ratings because of the "needs in retail, time sensitive advertising." While Nielsen's local TV ratings meters theoretically could produce the same minute-by-minute data streams that are generated for its national commercial minute ratings, Nielsen has maintained commercial ratings are not yet feasible for local market television. Among other things, all but the largest TV markets still rely on paper diaries for at least some part of their ratings information, and the diaries are not considered a very reliable source of information on either viewing of commercials or on time-shifted playback. Agency executives said they will continue to push Nielsen to come up with some way of standardizing reporting between local TV's average quarter hour program ratings and national TV's average commercial minute ratings.