Nielsen: TV Ratings To See Meaningful Lifts From New Digital Viewing Measure

Network TV shows see an average lift of as much as 5% in per-minute viewing per month among 18-to-49-year-olds when you add consumption on digital devices, Nielsen said today in its first disclosure of some findings from the data it has been collecting since January.

The digital number comes on top of what the ratings service says is a growth of anywhere from 4% to 58% in program viewing that different technologies — including DVRs and VOD — provide more than seven days after a show airs.

“The method of viewing changes as the distance from the original airing grows” — with digital having the most impact weeks afterward — Glenn Enoch, SVP of Audience Insights said this morning at a press briefing about its recent research ahead of this year’s Upfront and digital video Newfront ad sales efforts.

Broadly speaking, digital has the least impact on results for reality competition shows. Its contribution grows for serial dramas, episodic dramas, and sitcoms — and is highest for animated comedies.

The additional digital viewing Nielsen finds could be important for networks as they try to persuade advertisers that they’re still a good buy at a time when traditional ratings are declining. Many programmers hope to influence ad buying decisions by offering their own, proprietary information about digital viewing.

“But they’re the only ones who can see that,” Enoch says. “This provides third party syndicated data so everyone can see what’s going on.”

Nielsen’s setting the stage for what it calls Total Content Ratings based on all major viewing sources including digital devices such as smartphones, tablets, and gaming consoles.

“We look to next year as a transformation to a new measurement standard” that looks across time and screens, says Jessica Hogue, who’s SVP of Product Leadership. It will be an alternative to the current measures of commercial viewing over three or seven days, although she says that those measures won’t immediately go away.

The change involves “new terms and metrics and we want to be sure there’s a clear understanding about what the terms mean,” she says.

Networks have asked Nielsen not to inundate them, or advertisers, with the new findings from the look at digital video consumption.

“Many are just getting used to this data,” says Kelly Abcarian, who’s also SVP of Product Leadership. “They’ve asked us to be sensitive to the upfront season” and not dictate how the information should be used.

This article was printed from