Station Victory: TVB Endorses L3 Ratings

people watching tvSupporting what TV stations have been pushing for months, the Television Bureau of Advertising is endorsing a new Nielsen Media Research ratings measurement that takes into account three days of DVR viewing.

Since the beginning of the year, local stations, in either Local People Meter or set-metered markets, have been backing live plus three days of DVR program ratings (L3).

Nielsen Media Research has been making L3 available in sweep periods for LPM and metered markets since June. Only stations in the top 56 markets--14 local people meter [LPM] markets and 42 set-meter markets--can get L3 ratings.

"Using live plus 3 program ratings best serves the needs of advertisers in today's dynamic marketplace," said Chris Rohrs, president of the TVB, in a release. The TVB is a local TV stations advertising industry group.



"Nielsen data indicates that in three days, over 90% of all playback has already taken place, and much of that playback--51% to 86%, depending on daypart--occurs on the same day a program was recorded," Rohrs adds.

TVB notes that nearly half of commercials are viewed in real time when they are played back within three days.

But marketers have not been responding to this new local rating metric because these ratings don't account for commercial viewership. They want Nielsen to deliver commercial ratings, just as national TV advertisers get with national TV networks' so-called C3 rating--live commercial ratings plus three days of DVR playback.

"Marketers want to find out if their commercials are being zapped," says Brad Adgate, senior vice president and corporate research director of Horizon Media. "There is no part of the local currency that will do that now. [Marketers] want to factor in people who are zapping or channel-changing."

Nielsen has been planning to make live-plus-three program ratings available on a daily basis in 2009, as well as live-plus-same-day ratings.

Since 2006, Nielsen has been offering live plus seven days of DVR playback ratings (L7). But virtually no advertiser buys off that measurement, since it doesn't account for the skipping of commercials. As a compromise, stations have been pressing for L3 data.

Media agency executives say that for LPM markets, they only negotiate off of live-only rating and demographic information. For set-meter markets, advertisers make deals from demographic program ratings from the four sweep periods.

TVB notes that over 92% of household viewing and 87% of viewing by 18-49 and 25-54 viewers is live.

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