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Nielsen to Add Live-Plus-Same-Day Data Stream for Local Markets

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To the collective relief of the local TV broadcast community, Nielsen told clients Wednesday (Sept. 9) it is ready to add a new live-plus-same-day data stream to its local people meter and set meter markets. The new metric, which would replace the current live metric, would be introduced in December.

Nielsen made the recommendation following a June 25 meeting and interviews with clients. But the research giant won’t push the button on the proposed metric changes until the end of this month, following an open period for client feedback.

Live-plus-same-day will be the second metric Nielsen has added this year in a race to keep up with the increasingly time-shifting TV viewer. In January, Nielsen added to live and live-plus-seven-day streams, with the live-plus-three-day metric, a somewhat controversial one that was spurned by major buying shops such as Starcom, GroupM and Carat, which resolved to use live-only ratings.

But while the L3 compromise didn’t quite catch on, clients are likely to give Nielsen’s live-plus-same-day recommendation a thumbs up.

“If someone delays a program for 33 seconds, it’s considered delayed,” said Kathleen Keefe, vp of sales for Hearst Television, one of several broadcast proponents for live-plus-same-day. “The playback audience is quite valuable and we need to be able to monetize it,” Keefe told Mediaweek earlier this year.

The viewing trends support a live-plus-same-day viewing trend. According to Nielsen, on average 63 percent of playback occurs on the same day a program is recorded. A significant amount of playback occurs within a very short period of time within the same day. Among adults 25-54, 19 percent of playback occurs within 5 minutes, 28 percent within 15 minutes and 42 percent within one hour.

As with all research-ratings reporting, the devil is in the details.

In order to expedite the change, Nielsen would need to substitute the live rating for the live-plus-same-day, making live-plus-same-day the primary data stream used for buying and selling local commercial time. According to Nielsen, most clients were in favor of the swap, but some agencies told Nielsen they were prefer to retain the live-data stream.

“We picked the set of data streams that most of our clients are asking for, not just stations and MSOs. The majority said that if we have a live-plus-same-day, that’s what they would use for buying and selling,” said Sarah Erichson, president of media client services for Nielsen, which could still produce the live metric in a custom analysis.

Even though TV viewing is getting more complex, both buyers and sellers don’t want to complicate the ratings with too many streams of data.

“No one wants the number of streams to go up,” Erichson said. “The addition of streams isn’t practical and it paralyzes the ability to manage the data.”

Mediaweek is a unit of the Nielsen Co.