Nielsen’s “Groundbreaking” Study Shows Out-Of-Home Viewing Adds To Ratings

Nielsen today unveiled results of its three-month test measuring TV viewing out of homes, in Chicago. Nielsen discovered people watch TV in places other than their homes, in significant numbers.

Lisa DeMoraes TV badge verticalFor the test, Nielsen captured out-of-home viewing data over a three-month period beginning in April of this year. The test revealed, over the total day (5 AM-5 AM), out-of-home viewing added 7%-9% to the numbers among viewers aged 25-54, aka the news demo.

The biggest lift came in daytime, where Nielsen discovered people go to places like offices, and have access to televisions in these places, and watch them.

Sports programming saw the biggest spikes; in April, for instance, sports ratings increased 14%. But, Nielsen also discovered these viewers who go to places like offices during the day, and have access to TVs watch other things. News, for instance.

Nielsen called its test and the results “groundbreaking.”

As in, “This groundbreaking test allows broadcasters and media buyers and sellers to now quantify for the first time the ratings lift generated by viewers tuning in while away from home.”

In 2014.

The Chicago test measurement combined data from the existing Nielsen Local People Meter panel with audience data captured away-from-home with the PPM panel, and measured audiences aged 25 to 54 among men, women and both English- and Spanish-speaking Hispanics.

“Understanding how consumers view television away from home is critical to our clients and measuring out-of-home expands the viewing pie, as this test demonstrated,” said Matt O’Grady, EVP Managing Director, Nielsen.

We can attest to that — we’ve been hearing how critical it is for a couple decades now, from exasperated network and studio execs, including one who reacted to today’s news of Nielsen’s test by noting the audience measurement company “is always a couple steps behind.”

“At Nielsen our priority is to measure audiences wherever they are viewing, both inside and outside the home, over-the-air, over-the-top and on mobile devices,” O’Grady added.

While better late than never, the test results do little for, say, the 80 staffers laid off over the past couple months at The Weather Channel (about half of them this week) as the company reorganizes to adjust to what it says its audiences wants — which is another way of saying “ratings.” These days Nielsen reports The Weather Channel clocks an average of 214,000 viewers total day.

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