Well, that’s it, I guess it’s time to shut down this blog.  It has been fun!

At today’s TCA executive panel CW chief Dawn Ostroff said the days of waking up and looking at the overnight ratings are gone.

While it would be fun to make jokes like “that’s been true at the CW for 3 years,” the truth is, the CW is as prone as the next network to look at the overnight ratings and celebrate them with a press release if they are good.

But despite any lingering fan animosity about Veronica Mars and showing more love to Gossip Girl than Supernatural there may be more truth to her comment than meets the eye.

The letter of Ostroff’s comments are patently false, but the spirit of the comment is true, and getting truer.

Consider that ads are already sold based on commercial ratings that include 3 days worth of DVR viewing (C3).  While in any data we’ve seen, those commercial numbers aren’t vastly different than the overnight numbers, there may be more to it in the fairly near future.

Nielsen plans to roll out its “TVandPC” measurement early next year, which will included online viewing within 3 days of airing into those C3 numbers, so long as the same national ads that ran on TV are included.

That’s probably a big deal for everyone and perhaps a bigger deal for the CW, which has a smaller percentage of live viewing  than other networks.  But, live viewing is still the primary way people watch television.  That’s not why people, including Dawn will continue to wake up and look at the overnight reports for a long while to come though.  That will continue to be true for the simplest of reasons: because they can.

The C3 numbers are what matters, but the overnight numbers are a very good indicator of what the C3 numbers will look like.  And the C3 numbers don’t come out overnight, or even four days later.  It takes a couple of extra weeks for Nielsen to put all of that together.   I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.

So while the importance of the overnight numbers diminishes, the readily available nature of those numbers ensures people will continue to wake up and look at them.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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