Time-Delayed TV Popularity

According to Television Week’s Jon Lafayette, broadcasters have begun taking note of the increasing difference between traditional Neilsen ratings vs. traditional ratings + DVR playback. Turns out The Office has one of the biggest ratings differentials, which, given its overall popularity, makes it one of the most frequently recorded shows. People who love The Office love their technology.

This change, however, has left advertisers and broadcasters haggling over ad rates. While people with DVRs can fast-forward through the commercials, not all of them do. Thus, DVR playbacks add somewhat to the value of a TV ad, though no one seems to agree on how much.

As next season’s upfront ad market unfolds, some media agencies have already said they plan to buy commercials based on live plus three commercial ratings, but most of the industry is still haggling over how much playback should be counted and how much those delayed impressions are worth.

Nielsen’s new Commercial Minutes Ratings take the average rating for the minutes in programs in which commercials appear, rather than calculating ratings for each of the individual commercials bought by advertisers. Many ad buyers say that average commercial minutes might be acceptable in the short term, but would prefer more granular data in the future.

Nielsen will be calculating data based on live viewing, live viewing plus DVR playback during the same day and live viewing plus DVR playback for one, two, three and seven days for broadcast, cable and syndicated shows.

As more households migrate to DVR-powered delayed viewing, expect these disputes to get more contentious.