C3 Seen More Quickly, Nielsen Accelerates TV Ratings Release

Nielsen will deliver its C3 ratings to networks and advertisers this fall three days earlier than it has until now. In time for the new broadcast season, the minimum 15 days it has taken to release the C3 figures will be trimmed to 12.

Not a huge reduction, but Nielsen says it's the quickest it can do--since it unavoidably has to wait seven days after a programming week for DVR-enabled viewing to wrap. Then it must go through the time-consuming process of tracking when commercials ran.

The new 12-day, standard release schedule will be implemented in early September, and comes after advertisers and networks had asked Nielsen to speed the process. The urgency comes since C3 is the dominant currency on which TV buying and selling is based upon.

Since last year, the C3 release schedule has developed this way: First, a week's viewing finishes on a Sunday; then Nielsen waits another week for DVR viewing to register; then it takes another two weeks to produce the C3 ratings. (Nielsen has a minimum one-week delay since it releases its C7 stream along with C3.)



Take, for example, a week of programming that ends on Sunday, Aug. 3. Nielsen must then wait for DVR viewing to finish on Sunday, Aug. 10. It then takes the two weeks, until Aug. 25, to process and release.

But under the new schedule, the release time will be shortened by three days to--in this example--Friday, Aug. 22.

A Nielsen representative says if buyers and sellers are eager to accelerate the C3 release schedule further, then the company "would need to have additional discussions with our clients about their priorities." With a major investment, there is the possibility that a release could be done as soon as three days after a week ends.

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