I was all set to post about CBS’s Elementary & Vegas leading the pack of freshman shows according to Ad Age’s annual survey of ad buyer commercial ratings estimates.

When I was finished, I was scratching my head. An entire article focused on estimates of C3 ratings  (commercial ratings, live plus 3 days worth of DVR) that focused on household rating. Household ratings aren’t meaningful to primetime broadcast networks shows’ success. Adults 18-49 ratings and subsets are what matter. The article doesn’t even mention adults 18-49. Not even once. But hey, I’m sure CBS ain’t complaining!

You wind up with results predicting that a Friday CBS show, Blue Bloods will outperform every ABC show not named Dancing with the Stars. And in household rating that’s probably true. But so what?  Blue Bloods is more successful than Modern Family by that standard, Dancing with the Stars is more successful than Modern Family, too.  But again, so what? If the numbers Ad Age focused on in the survey mattered, Harry’s Law would be on the fall schedule. It isn’t.

The good news is that in 2-3 months when Ad Age publishes its annual survey of 30 second commercial spot cost estimates those will be based on adults 18-49 and subsets (whether Ad Age likes it or not!) and that will conclusively point out just how meaningless the household rating survey is. Spoiler Alert: despite having a 7% higher household estimate than Modern Family, Blue Bloods is going to have a much lower 30 second spot cost.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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