Network Jedi Mind Tricks: Live+7 Day Ratings And Your Favorite Show's Future

Categories: TV Advertising,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

October 24th, 2011

Note: While this is a year old post, with year old data, it bears reposting given that the TV networks PR over DVR ratings continues to escalate. I'd update with current information, but we haven't seen any C+3 ratings for the 2011-12 season.

TV public: Can I see your TV ratings?
Network PR: [with a small wave of his hand] You don't need to see our Live+Same Day TV ratings.
TV public: We don't need to see his Live+Same Day TV ratings.
Network PR: These aren't the ratings you're looking for.
TV public: These aren't the ratings we're looking for.
Network PR: Wait until the Live + 7 Day ratings appear.
TV public: We'll wait until the Live + 7 Day ratings appear.
Network PR: Move along.
TV public: Move along... move along.

Monday is the Live + 7 ratings press release day in the TV business, so I thought I'd pass along an analysis of last season's premiere week ratings and how they relate to Live + 7 day DVR ratings.

First a review of the 3 types of ratings in this post:

  • C+3 day commercial ratings: They determine how much the networks get paid for their advertising. They measure Live and DVR viewing of the average commercial minute during a show within 3 days of airdate. They are rarely available in public.
  • Live+Same Day program ratings: They are the ratings you see reported almost everywhere on a daily and weekly basis. They measure the Live and DVR viewing until 3am after the airdate of the average minute, program and commercials, during an entire show.
  • Live + 7 day program ratings: They measure the Live and DVR viewing within 7 days of airdate of the average minute, program and commercials, during an entire show. They are reported in media articles specifically about DVR viewing, and of course, network PR.They are available 2-3 weeks after the original airdate.

Network PR would like you to focus on Live + 7 day ratings for one very important reason, they're always greater than any other ratings that are measured by Nielsen.

And for network PR, bigger ratings are always better!

But those Live + Same Day ratings that everybody reports every day, even though they measure different things, match up very closely with the C+3 ratings that determine how much the networks get paid by advertisers.

Here are the numbers from premiere week (September 20-26) during the 2010-11 season:

  • Shows with C+3 ratings greater than Live+Same Day program ratings: 4
  • Shows with C+3 ratings equal to Live+Same Day program ratings: 28
  • Shows with C+3 ratings below Live+Same Day program ratings: 63

Conclusions:

  • Live+Same Day program ratings are very close to the C+3 commercial ratings for almost every show. In the majority of cases, Live+ Same Day ratings are above C+3 ratings.
  • Since Live+Same Day program ratings already exceed C+3 ratings in most cases, the additional ratings/viewing added between Live+Same Day and Live+7 Day measurements adds no incremental advertising revenue.

Do not fall for the network PR Jedi Mind Tricks trying to convince you that the incremental ratings added between Live + Same Day and Live+7 day ratings matter to the future of your show (or the revenue of the network). They don't!

Those Live+7 day ratings may be interesting for all sorts of analysis on viewership and behavior, and of course are helpful for press release writers, but the additional DVR viewing after the "Same Day" period doesn't make the network any more money or "help" any shows.

Now that you realize that Live+Same Day ratings are a pretty good analog for the C+3 commercial ratings that really matter, who will you be the next time you're reading about Live+7 day ratings:

Jabba The Hut or Bib Fortuna?

Bib Fortuna: Master.
[Jabba wakes up with a start]
Bib Fortuna: May I present Luke Skywalker, Jedi Knight?
Jabba the Hutt: I told you not to admit him!
Luke: I must be allowed to speak.
Bib Fortuna: He must be allowed to speak.
Jabba the Hutt: You weak minded fool! He's using an old Jedi mind trick.
[Jabba shoves Bib Fortuna aside]
Luke: You will bring Captain Solo and the Wookiee to me.
[Jabba laughs]
Jabba the Hutt: Your mind powers will not work on me boy.

 
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