Updated! Network PR Jedi Mind Tricks: Live+3 Day, Live+7 Day Ratings And Your Favorite Show's Future

Categories: 2-Featured,TV Advertising,TV Ratings Reference

Written By

October 22nd, 2012

This is a seasonal post that I do about the PR Jedi Mind Tricks played by network PR departments. It has now been updated with information from the first week of the 2012-13 season courtesy of a MediaDailyNews article by Wayne Friedman.

The PR avalanche of Live+3 day and Live+7 Day ratings has already begun, and it's instructive to remember that the ratings that the advertisers pay for (the C+3 commercial ratings) differ very little from the Live+Same Day program ratings for each network, and for most shows.

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 this 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 network average numbers from premiere week (September 24-30, 2012) during the 2012-13 season:

  • NBC had a 3.0 C+3 Day commerical rating, a tenth lower than its 3.1 Live+Same Day program rating.
  • CBS had a 2.3 C+3 Day commerical rating, a tenth lower than its 2.4 Live+Same Day program rating.
  • Fox had a 2.5 C+3 Day commerical rating, a tenth higher than its 2.4 Live+Same Day program rating.
  • ABC had a 2.3 C+3 Day commerical rating, a tenth higher than its 2.2 Live+Same Day program rating.

Conclusions:

  • Live+Same Day program ratings are very close to the C+3 commercial ratings for each network, varying only slightly.
  • Live+Same Day program ratings are a very good proxy for the C+3 Day commercial ratings.

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+3 day or Live+7 day ratings matter to the future of your show (or the revenue of the network). They don't!

Those Live+3 day and 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 "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+3 day or 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.

 
  • JAA

    CBS is listed twice in the network average numbers from premiere week (September 24-30, 2012) during the 2012-13 season and where’s ABC?

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @JAA, whoops, typo! That second CBS should have been ABC. Fixed.

  • iggy

    I’ll be Lando.

  • Tyson

    Bill and Robert have many goals for TVBTN.

    1. Get pageviews
    2. Help Cancellation Bear become world-famous
    3. Get pageviews
    4. Predict which network scripted shows won’t return next season (canceled)
    5. Get pageviews
    6. Make Fan Excuse Bingo the world’s most popular game
    7. Get pageviews
    8. Predict which network scripted shows will return next season (renewed)
    9. Get pageviews
    10. Debunk the “total viewership is important” myth
    11. Get pageviews

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @Tyson, you forgot “Have Fun!”, that’s either #1 or #2, based on which of us you ask, and on what day you ask the question!

  • DKD

    “Live+Same Day program ratings are very close to the C+3 commercial ratings for each network, varying only slightly.
    Live+Same Day program ratings are a very good proxy for the C+3 Day commercial ratings.”

    However…Those averages include reality shows, sports, and newsmagazines. All three are categories you don’t include in your cancellation calculations. Also, averages do not give you any clue of the variation from one show to the next.

    Premiere week is not the week to go by since viewing patterns in regards to time-shifting change after a show debuts. You can see that in your own Live + 7 reports.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    ““Live+Same Day program ratings are very close to the C+3 commercial ratings for each network, varying only slightly.
    Live+Same Day program ratings are a very good proxy for the C+3 Day commercial ratings.”

    However…Those averages include reality shows, sports, and newsmagazines. All three are categories you don’t include in your cancellation calculations. Also, averages do not give you any clue of the variation from one show to the next.

    Premiere week is not the week to go by since viewing patterns in regards to time-shifting change after a show debuts. You can see that in your own Live + 7 reports.”

    In 2010, we saw the C+3 ratings for every single show in premiere week. The same pattern vs. Live+Same Day ratings was evident on a show by show basis. You can site search “Jedi” and find the older posts with that data.

    Alternatively, your comment might have been simply “you don’t have 100% of the data 100% of the time, so I don’t care”. If so, nevermind.

  • DKD

    http://www.adweek.com/news/television/c3-ratings-premiere-week-falls-flat-144674

    “On an individual program basis, the biggest gainers in C3 included two new series. NBC’s Revolution notched a 3.8 rating, up from the L-SD 3.4 and CBS’ Elementary delivered a 3.4, up from 3.1. On the other end of the narrow spectrum, ABC’s The Neighbors slipped two-tenths of a point to a 3.0. Meanwhile, the two lowest-rated debuts were unchanged in C3. Canceled after its second episode, CBS’ Made in Jersey was steady at a 1.1 rating while Fox’s The Mob Doctor drew a 1.3.”

    I do believe that having a positive C3 conversion is better than having a negative one and there are indications that this may weigh on some network decisions to either extend shows a full season or cancel them quickly. I think it will be a tie-breaker.

    I am fully aware you don’t have access to the data and you have to work with what you have.

  • Janus

    Bill–did you see the article in TV GUIDE last week about DVR usage and the ratings. It’s called FALL’S BIGGEST HIT:DVR.

    It talks about if DVR was a network it would be higher in audience numbers and higher in the key young adult demo. And they talk about the obvious that this trend keeps increasing.

    They then go on about how much in numbers the total audience goes up for various show with DVR+3. And quotes some TV execs saying they have to wait a beat before jumping to totally judge a show until 3 days or so for that week.

    Do you buy this? Or are you saying even if the total audience goes up that the perecetages basically stay the same.

  • Janus

    *percentages*

  • Matt H.

    The Jedi mind trick don’t have to work on us, just the corporations that buy advertising.

  • Stefan

    –Live+Same Day program rating–

    Is this a P2+, A18-49 or Household rating?

  • The End

    The Jedi Mind trick stuff explains how The Mob Doctor is on the air still and not cancelled yet, something like this.

    Mob Doctor Exec Prod: You will not pull our show from the air yet
    Fox guy: We will not pull your show from the air yet
    Mob Doctor Exec Prod: You will renew our show
    Fox guy: Such a command is beyond my means to carry out
    Mob Doctor: Meh better than nothing.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @Stephan, adults 18-49 ratings.

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @DKD, if a borderline show has a much better C3 relative rating it could help, but only for “toss up” range shows. And you’re right, we are unlikely to ever get those numbers.

  • Anna Clarkwood

    Wait, by far the most part (w/n .1 demo) DO watch the commercials Live+Same+3?

    How is this possible with DVR being huge esp in the demo age group?

    How can the Commercial rating be w/n .1 demo of the rating we see every day? There is no way that only .1 demo on avg watch via DVR, skipping the commercials. There are many demo viewers that watch the shows live+Same+3. I can’t believe that they would choose to watch the commercials since it wasn’t LIVE (but still b4 3am)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    “Wait, by far the most part (w/n .1 demo) DO watch the commercials Live+Same+3?

    How is this possible with DVR being huge esp in the demo age group?

    How can the Commercial rating be w/n .1 demo of the rating we see every day? There is no way that only .1 demo on avg watch via DVR, skipping the commercials. There are many demo viewers that watch the shows live+Same+3. I can’t believe that they would choose to watch the commercials since it wasn’t LIVE (but still b4 3am)”

    You may be a bit confused.

    The fact that the Live+Same Day program ratings are about the same as the C+3 Day commercial ratings means that:

    The average numbers of adults 18-49 that watch a program before 3am following the airdate (Live+Same Day program rating) is about the same as the number of adults 18-49 that watch the average commercial minute of the program within 3 days of the airdate (C+3 day commercial rating).

  • Anna Clarkwood

    @Bill

    So the average show gets a ~100% commercial 18-49 rating bump from 3am to 3 day? Or, that “no one” watches commercials after 3am same day?

    Is there any data in relation to what a commercial rating is to what we normally see? AKA what is the difference btwn commercial and normal rating in as far as % of actual numbers? What % of those who watch a particular show (normal rating) watch the commercials live (commercial rating)?

  • battye

    Anna Clarkwood, if I understand correctly it means that roughly the same number of people in the demo are watching the [b]program[/b] before 3am (Live+SD) after it airs as are watching [b]commercials[/b] in the 3 days after it airs (C3).

  • Greggers

    Yes what people are confusing is very clearly laid out in this post:

    The ratings stream C3 measures only the average minutes of *commercial* viewing.

    Any “Live” ratings stream measures the average minutes of *the entire program* viewing (program content including commercials)

    C3 is a decent proxy for Live+SD, but this is mere happenstance as the 2 rating streams are measuring different viewer behavior over different periods of time (e.g. program viewing until 3AM vs. commercial viewing for +3 days after broadcast)

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