Changes to Nielsen Ratings: Reporting Now Includes Duplicate DVR Viewing

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March 29th, 2011

I'll spare you the jargon and acronyms since the change itself is pretty simple: beginning with the ratings we saw this morning for Monday night, any duplicate viewing of a program on DVR before 3am is included in the Live+SD (live viewing plus same day DVR viewing) ratings.

Mostly Not a Big Change

I wrote about this last week in reference to some numbers reported by Fox for last Friday’s Fringe. The Live+SD adults 18-49 ratings reported by Fox a few days after the fact were 0.1 higher than what everyone else saw in the preliminary and final national numbers.

Fox had a slightly different number because it used a Nielsen reporting system that had already implemented the change to count duplicate viewing on DVR. But reporting systems used for the for the preliminary and final national numbers had not yet been updated. Those systems are scheduled to be updated beginning with the ratings for Monday night (March 28, 2011).

It’s not a very big deal because mostly people don’t re-watch things a lot on their DVRs. For several weeks, the Live+SD numbers for Fringe that included any duplicate viewing before 3am were no different than the numbers that didn’t include any duplicate viewing, at least when rounded to a tenth of a ratings point.

Last week, the “no duplicate DVR viewing” report was a 1.3 adults 18-49 rating. The version with duplicate viewing was a 1.4. But that could have been the result of a small boost that bumped a 1.33 or 1.34 rating (sadly, we rarely see ratings that include hundredths) to a 1.35 that could then be rounded up to a 1.4.

There are exceptions that would breed a LOT of duplicate viewing, but those seem rare.  Janet Jackson’s wardrobe malfunction at the Super Bowl in 2004 springs to mind.

Pandora’s Box for Fans?

When I first heard about this, my thought was “Oh man, the fans of marginally-rated shows are going to have a field day with this!”  You know, “WATCH Chuck as MANY TIMES AS YOU CAN BEFORE 3AM!”  Indeed, all the duplicate DVR viewing will count in the ratings – but only if it happens in a household that’s part of Nielsen’s panel. For everyone else, it won’t matter.

 
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