By Bill Duggan
ANA continues to advocate for a “Live Only” data stream for local television ratings. Nielsen is making three data streams available to the industry and has decided that all streams should be “plus” streams to including viewing in DVR playback: Live + Same Day, Live + 3 Days, and Live + 7 Days.
It’s critical to recognize that local ratings are based on program ratings and not commercial ratings (national ratings are commercial ratings). All of the “plus” streams include program viewing in DVR playback but do not recognize commercial skipping in DVR playback. Ratings would be significantly overstated as a result. And prices charged to advertisers could potentially (and unfairly) increase as well. With DVR penetration over 30 percent this is already an issue which will intensify as DVR penetration grows further—an increasingly number of viewers will skip commercials in DVR playback.
Given that three local reporting data streams can be produced by Nielsen, it is reasonable for buyers to request that one of these streams be Live Only. To have all three streams be “plus—”including DVR playback of programs but with no recognition of commercial skipping—seems unfair and unnecessary.
On January 15 ANA and the 4A’s conducted an industry meeting to discuss local television ratings. Read more about that at www.ana.net/localratings