According to MoffettNathanson Research, broadcast networks’ Nielsen C3 ratings were off 7% for the month to 4.6 million 18-49 viewers — worse than the recent months — but actually better than earlier in the year when they lost in January (11%), February (12%), March (13%), and April (13%). A year ago in July, broadcast networks were down 4% among 18-49 viewers.After some pretty decent viewership metrics for cable TV networks in 2016, July’s numbers sank sharply. Cable TV networks were also down 7% in 18-49 viewers to 15.7 million.
National TV’s hourly advertising commercial time continues to rise. In April 2016, analysis of Nielsen data from Pivotal Research Group shows that advertising loads grew nearly 2% to 10.7 minutes per hour over April 2015 for 18-49 viewers in the Nielsen C3 metric, the average minute commercial rating plus three days of time-shifted viewing.
A few scheduling quirks helped shore up broadcast ratings in November, as a late finish to the 2015 Major League Baseball season and a Nielsen calendar shift kept the Big Four networks from losing ground.
Primetime and total day commercial TV ratings — still the primary measurement for TV advertisers — continued to drop, by high single-digit percentages in October. Nielsen C3 data — average live commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing — sank 7% for both primetime and total day across broadcast and cable networks for key 18-49 viewers, according to MoffettNathanson Research.
Through the first two weeks of the new TV broadcast season, TV networks continue to struggle to maintain viewership levels versus a year ago. The top-25 scripted TV shows lost an average 25% of their Nielsen 18-49 C3 ratings-measured audience. Fox’s Gotham and Family Guy are among top losing shows.
Total day commercial ratings among broadcast networks continue to decline among some key viewers this past season. Season-to-date total day C3 ratings (commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifting) among 18-49 viewers witnessed an 8% decline this season to 4.3 million viewers, according to MoffettNathanson Research from Nielsen data.
But C7 will not replace C3 as the currency for most upfront negotiations. Agencies will push for other metrics to be considered, too. Expect a long, drawn-out upfront.
Nielsen is reissuing total-day ratings from the beginning of the current TV season after it admitted today that it has misallocated some viewership results — possibly to the benefit of ABC, although it would not confirm that. As much as 98% of programs won’t be affected by more than .05 of a ratings point. It’s not clear whether it might result in make-goods. Those are mostly based on the so-called C3 numbers — the amount of live and delayed viewing over three days.
Although broadcast TV networks are pushing other rating metrics to show off big performances of their shows, live program-plus-same-day TV ratings are a closer proxy for C3 ratings — the currency media buyers use to make advertising deals. Nielsen C3 ratings are still the predominant “currency” in how TV networks get paid from advertisers — even with growing C7 deals. C3 ratings are the average commercial ratings plus three days of time-shifted viewing.
In what may be the most cogent argument for the adoption of the C7 ratings currency, TiVo Research on Monday revealed that broadcasters beholden to the dated C3 metric are leaving hundreds of millions of dollars in ad sales revenue on the table.
Live-plus-time-shifted data is most representative of American consumers’ current television viewing habits according to TVB, which on thursday reiterated its position on audience measurement related to actual TV viewing. An analysis of Nielsen time-shifted data reveals that live-plus-same day A25-54 viewing is consistently moving closer to the nationall C3 currency rating standard while the live-only data stream is moving farther from the national standard.
Media buyers are split down the middle on whether the national TV market will shift its dominant currency from C3 to C7 over the next 12 to 18 months. A swap is “inevitable at some point,” but might have little impact on market economics. The 50% of buyers surveyed cast doubt on the switch, indicated it would hurt advertisers with “time-sensitive” messages, while the other half who suggested it would come noted it could offer a “more accurate portrayal” of viewing with time-shifting growing.
The networks argue that ads should be sold on commercial ratings for seven-day DVR playback. Buyers are content to stick with the current C3.
But a new Nielsen report shows that C3 ratings of network programming rise 16%, thanks to people watching commercials while using a DVR. That data is for 18-to-49 year-olds for ABC, CBS, CW, Fox and NBC combined.