Why Don't TV Ratings Measure Online Viewing, Or iTunes, Or…?

Categories: 1-Featured,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

March 11th, 2011

I'm sorry to bother you, but I have a question.  I know that TV ratings now take into account an estimate of live numbers and DVR viewing.  Do these ratings ever take into account the people that watch the episodes on-line?  Why would it be difficult for Fox, for example, to take into account the number of people that watch a show like Fringe at fox.com?  I, for one, don't DVR, and I'm not a Nielsen family so I effectively don't count in ratings ... so I'm just curious.


We report and analyze the ramifications of TV ratings every day, but sometimes it makes sense to remember the most important fact about them.

TV ratings are measured for the purpose of determining the pricing of TV advertising.


They aren't for measuring popularity, or "winners and losers", or any other reason you might imagine. That's why combining them with other measures of viewing makes no sense.

Nielsen has an effort underway that would aggregate the ratings for Live TV and DVR viewing with the online and video on demand (VOD) viewing of TV episodes as long as the online and VOD viewing contained the same commercials as the live telecast. It is supposed to have begun sometime during 2011, but it has recently hit some snags.

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