Magna Weighs In on Live-Plus-Same-Day Debate

Magna has weighed in on the debate over Nielsen’s decision to replace live program ratings with live-plus-same-day in local meter markets, joining broadcasters in coming out in favor of the change. Heralding Nielsen’s move as a “major step forward for local audience measurement,” Magna urged agencies that have opposed the metric to welcome it.

“Assertions that live-plus-same-day ratings will overstate program ratings while driving up costs are based on erroneous assumptions that do not hold up under scrutiny,” wrote Janice Finkel-Greene, executive vp of director of buying analytics for Magna Global.

Finkel-Green’s conclusion was based on an analysis of program and commercial ratings for both live and live-plus-same-day data dreams in 21 local people meter markets across 10 demographics and 138 prime-time programs.

Since Nielsen announced in November it would change the local market TV currency, it set off an uprising among some agencies that insisted that the live-only metric be retained. As a result, Nielsen delayed the metric change until March 31, allowing for more dialogue and data comparisons between the two metrics, a compromise that seemed to calm the debate.

According to Magna’s analysis, same-day DVR playback could potentially overstate commercial viewing by about 4 percent, far below the swings that normally occur in Nielsen’s audience projections. In more than half the programs analyzed, the live-plus-same-day program ratings were closer to C3, the metric used to buy and sell network TV.

“The way people view television has changed, and a ratings stream with DVR playback included is much more representative of today’s audience,” said Finkel-Greene. “Rejecting live-plus-same-day program data stream, because it might marginally overstate commercial viewing is a head-in-the-sand approach.”