Billions Of Viewing Minutes? CBS Data Sounds Impressive

A TV show called “Billions” appears on a CBS sister network, but CBS has apparently caught a billions bug of its own.

The network -- owned by ViacomCBS, owner of Showtime, the home of “Billions” -- sent an unusual announcement out last week.

The announcement reported that CBS leads the …

5 comments about "Billions Of Viewing Minutes? CBS Data Sounds Impressive".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 15, 2021 at 8:58 a.m.

    Quite right, Adam. They are just expressing their Nielsens "the digital way"---that's cool, don't you know. Instead of telling us what their average minure audience was  or citing---perish the thought--- their ratings, we get box car tonnage figures that nobody understands---expcept for the fact that one network's box car numbers are bigger than anothers. just wait until the end of the season for a recap like this---we may be talking trillions, not billions. Of course, only about a third of those "minutes" actually represent viewers with their eyes on the screen---but that's another story.

  2. David Scardino from TV & Film Content Development, November 15, 2021 at 1:31 p.m.

    And of course the other thing (that bosses like Ed at BBDO & Art Greenfield at Y&R taught me in days of old) was/is that these numbers, for advertisers paying the freight, are pretty much useless given their tenuous relationship to the actual viewing of commercials. But, as Adam rightly points out, there's never a shortage of braggarts and bragging.

  3. John Grono from GAP Research, November 15, 2021 at 2:13 p.m.

    Adam, given that digital video metrics typically have a 2-second threshold (if they have a qualifying threshold at all), I think CBS is selling themselves shory.

    Sure 166,736,706,000 is a big number, but 10,004,202,360,000 (seconds) is a MUCH bigger numnber and is in the rarefied 10 trillion club.

  4. Jack Wakshlag from Media Strategy, Research & Analytics, November 15, 2021 at 4:23 p.m.

    A minute viewed is equal to an impression lasting a minute (with rounding, of course). Since a digital impression is counted when it lasts 2 seconds, the number is lower than what would be counted by most digital sources -- as has been pointed out already. I'm sure CBS would be happy to provide you with figures on season to date ad minutes delivered, which would also be less than if they counted using the two second rule. I would be in the trillions, and as Dave Morgan has pointed out many times before, dwarf digital ad supported sources as well.

    Now Netflix makes no more money from subscribers if they watch for more seconds or less.  Nevertheless, they also have announced minutes as their metric of choice.

    In the end, hours, minutes, seconds can provide clean comparisons of usage for all kinds of distributors, ad supported, subscription supported, publicly supported, whatever.  It combines the how many (reach) how often (frequency), how long (duration) pieces into one universally suitable number.  It's about as level a playing field as there is. 

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 15, 2021 at 4:59 p.m.

    Jack, my beef is with the idea that citing "impressions" is a great leap forward---it isn't. We always had the numbers of homes or "viewers" supposedly watching on an average minute basis---that's how CPMs were  figured out in 1960.  Regarding the playing field being leveled by referring to "impressions" rather than GRPs, that's simply not the case. For example, if TVision's findings are correct---and I generally accept them as being fairly close to the truth--- 30% of CBS's "impressions"--- or GRPs--- are phantoms. That is the "viewer"wasn't even in the room when the ad appeared on his/her screen. Comparing these stats with  projections for , say, YouTube videos is not a one on one deal. Youtube's ad viewers---per TVision---- devote less time to a commercial that those who watch "linear TV" commercials. It's all in our upcoming and totally reoriented "TV Dimensions 2022"---which we have renamed "Total TV Dimensions 2022" to reflect a whole new approach---one that puts all forms of "TV" viewing and all of the ways that it is done under the same looking glass.

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