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

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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.

 
  • Greggers

    Although – this line from the above post should be corrected:

    “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 make the network any more money or “help” any shows.”

    That is not true – as Commercial+3 ratings are the metric for monetization, obviously the additional DVR viewing after “Same Day” does “help” a series as there are more eyeballs to monetize. (In that Commercial+3 measures commercial viewing up to 3 days after broadcast.)

  • http://tvbythenumbers.com Bill Gorman

    @Greggers, correct. Edited.

  • Richard Steven Hack

    Now if only I could learn to use those Jedi mind tricks on Summer Glau… :-)

  • Aeiouy

    Would it be fair to say that even when people irrationally claim that a show like revolution might get canceled you can look at the live + 3 numbers to reinforce the premise that unless its audience cuts in half (and nbcs other shows stay steady) it is not going anywhere.

    I agree with the relativity. In some cases though you might see small variances good or bad in the plus three numbers that might assist in making future predictions.

  • Riff Rafferty

    How many of these hot and fresh new shows are even meeting guarantees? I think that proves why we all need to move to Ted Harbert’s proposed currency metric. C352PO. Come on, advertisers, there are super busy viewers out there who really want to watch their favorite shows but just can’t fit the actual viewership of them into their schedules until sometime next year. Cough up!

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