Nielsen: OOH Viewing Boosts Nat’l TV Audience

Anyone who has watched a big game in a sports bar or cable news in the airport knows that not all TV viewing occurs at home. In fact, viewing outside the home boosts the total national TV audience by 2.6 percent, according to Nielsen’s final report from its co-branded Out-of-Home service with Integrated Media Measurement, which was suspended in November.

The report pulled together nearly a year’s worth of out-of-home viewing data (March-November 2008) collected from a panel of 4,700 equipped with smart phones loaded with specialized IMMI-tracking software.

Daytime and weekends, dayparts in which people were least likely to be at home, typically drew the largest out-of-home ratings, but weekdays 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. got the biggest lift at 6 percent.

TV programs that drew the largest out-of-home audiences were big sports events, some popular network prime-time programming such as Desperate Housewives and House, and broadcast network finales, such as Fox’s American Idol. For Fox, out-of-home viewing contributed a quarter of a rating point to the network’s overall ratings, for a 3.4 percent lift.

Networks have long wanted to be able to quantify the out-of-home audience, but the former Nielsen/IMMI service attracted only two clients, ESPN and Zenith Media. “Because of the current economic conditions we are focusing our efforts on developing a service that will be valuable and economical to the industry,” said Marie Philippe, program manager of out-of-home measurement for Nielsen.