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Nielsen Bows to Wishes of Media Buyers, Scraps Plans to Scrap Live-Only for Now: Update 12-17

March 20, 2010

This is an interesting article about Nielsen ratings that’s relevant to all advertisers. Live only data, which is discussed in this article, refers to the TV ratings that are captured during the live airing of the television program being measured. This is important to anyone purchasing advertising on television because it helps filter the number of viewers who watch the program on TIVO or DVR. Nielsen also provides data in the form of “live+3 and live+7” which means the ratings include viewers who watch the program on their TIVO or DVR 3 days and 7 days later respectively. This concept is actually interesting to study because even though viewers supposedly TIVO and DVR programs to skip commercials, there is quite a bit of research that suggests that many of these viewers actually still watch the commercials. Something to think about…

Happy Holidays, The Thrive Team.

Media buyers have been partially successful in their efforts to convince Nielsen to continue offering live-only ratings in local markets.

Nielsen has bowed to the wishes of media buyers, saying that it will continue to include live viewing data – rather than eliminating live-only and switching to live-plus-same-day, as the measurement company said in November that it planned to do – at least until March. Live-only data will be included in the monthly total viewing sources file, but overnights will only be offered in live-plus-same-day, writes Media Life.

Buyers had protested the announced shift to live-plus-same-day because of an estimated jump in ratings of 13% when the DVR data was incorporated, which would likely lead to an increase in ad prices for their clients. Nielsen said that, while it agreed to continue with live-only for now, live-only data could potentially “lead to flaws in planning and buying and distortion of TV performance, impacting consumer behavior – leading one to pick the wrong mix of programs and weight for advertising schedules.” Nielsen urged media buyers and television stations to come to a metric all could agree on.

Nielsen said the modified plan will go into effect Jan. 7 and will continue through the end of March, giving clients time to compare the ratings from the two ratings sources, reports Mediaweek.

Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer for GroupM, who had threatened legal action against Nielsen for its earlier decision to scrap live-only, said, “Nielsen heard from all parties and they’re doing the right thing.”

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