One day after HBO reported numbers for the series finale of The Newsroom based on early viewing stats, the premium channel announced to The Reporters Who Cover Television:
Beginning Jan. 1, 2015, HBO will no longer be distributing or confirming LIVE+SD viewership for our programming. HBO subscribers have available to them an array of entry points to watch our programming – HBO linear feeds, DVR, HBO On Demand and HBO GO –and a single airing is no longer representative of an HBO show’s true audience size. Today, it is common for final gross-audience figures to grow anywhere from five to ten times viewership after an initial airing. With this in mind, starting in 2015, HBO viewership figures will first be made available by us approximately two weeks after a program’s premiere, compiling LIVE+7 Nielsen and preliminary HBO On Demand and HBO GO data.
HBO is joining a growing list of networks have formally announced they will not countenance Live+Same Day ratings reports. “If you were a sports reporter, you would not report the winner based on the third-inning score – that’s what you’re doing if you use Live+Same Day ratings,” CBS Research guru David Poltrack chastised Reporters Who Cover Television at Summer TV Press Tour back in July. He was one of four network number crunchers, also including reps from Fox and FX, who ran the reporters through a “bar chart gauntlet” at a Q&A during the tour, by way of trying to persuade them not to report on next day ratings for their networks’ programs. They came to preach the value of using Live+3 stats at the very least, in light of how popular delayed viewing has become – particularly of scripted primetime series, with drama series leading the way.