CBS said this morning it will add Live+7 projections to its daily same-day ratings reports, starting with the beginning of the 2014-2015 TV season on September 22. CBS said the move reflects the “continued industry shift” to L7 and C7 ratings which are a more accurate measurement of a show’s total audience — and a program’s full monetization value. CBS’ announcement is part of a trend among TV organizations that issue daily ratings to include projections along with Live+Same Day stats. Fox began doing so regularly about a year ago; ABC and NBC have been adding the projections intermittently for a couple seasons.
“L7 and C7 are the metrics that more accurately account for how viewers watch our shows and how we get paid for our programming – both in advertising and content licensing,” said CBS Corp president and CEO Leslie Moonves in this morning’s announcement. “C7 deals were a significant part of our Upfront negotiations this year, and we are doing more and more C7 deals all of the time. As new technologies continue to improve audience measurement across all platforms, these more precise metrics are becoming the industry standard, benefiting advertisers and content providers alike.”
“To report audience results for programs the day after they air live is comparable to reporting the results of a baseball game after the fifth inning,” added CBS Corp chief research officer David Poltrack — a line he used at Summer TV Press Tour 2014 when he and execs from other networks pitched TV critics, reporters and columnists on the concept of using the delayed-viewing stats in their coverage of a show’s popularity with viewers. But back then — July — Poltrack and his counterparts at other networks only 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.
“We all provide projections [for Live+3 Day]. We understand your skepticism about using our projections,” Poltrack said then. “The one thing you can be sure about our projections is that if one of us starts giving you a lot of bullshit, the other ones are going to let you know. You’ve got us to check each other,” he added.
Poltrack today said the only way to accurately compare audiences across all programs is to include even more time-shifted viewing — now up to seven days after initial broadcast.
CBS’s Live+7 projections for returning programs will be based on the distinctive historical increases in viewers for each program. For new programs, the projections will initially be based on the time-shifting pattern of programs in the same genre until CBS has actual results for them over a seven-day frame.
CBS will release daily L7 projections in viewers, adults 18-49 and adults 25-54 that will include percentage increases over each program’s Live+Same Day averages.