Update: If I understand the data posted directly by Nielsen, the DVR viewing actually does have a bigger revenue impact than I'd originally thought. In the post below it seemed the C3 numbers were being compared to live program viewing and not live commercial viewing. But it looks like I got that wrong, and it does change the way I think about the importance of DVR viewing, though not necessarily the Live+7 DVR viewing.
original post below:
Don't read too much into these apples-to-pears comparisons where live PROGRAM ratings are compared to C3 COMMERCIAL ratings (live plus 3 days worth of DVR viewing). When it comes to the Live+SD (same day DVR viewing) program ratings that are commonly reported, C3 numbers went DOWN, not up...
Nielsen data for premiere week alone has three NFL games at the top of the C3 ratings list for the 18-49 year old demographic group. As expected with live sports none of them got much of a lift from the live number and the C3 number which measures the average rating of commercials in a given show with three days of playback added in.
The top show, Fox’s NFL Sunday Single was up two tenths of a rating point to 6.8. CBS NFL National scored the same, while NBC’s Sunday Night Football was up just a tenth of a point at 6.4.
When it comes to top entertainment programming Fox’s House rose more than a full rating point up to 6.3 from 5.2. ABC’s Grey’s the fifth biggest show on the C3 list for premiere week rose from a 5.1 live rating to a 6.1 rating on C3.
Those all sound well and good, but it's not as good as you might believe. Why? Because LIVE program viewing is rarely reported. That data isn't used at all except in the context of DVR viewing. And here's what the above story didn't tell you: based on the Live+SD program ratings that are commonly posted the C3 commercial ratings WENT DOWN. House from 6.7 to a 6.3 and Grey's from a 6.7 to a 6.1.
The good news is that DVR viewers are obviously watching some commercials -- the bad news is there is no real benefit to the networks of adding in a couple of days worth of DVR viewing when comparing the commercial ratings to the live plus same day DVR program ratings. The Live+SD program ratings appear to be a fairly good proxy of what the C3 ratings will look like.