How Do TV Ratings Work?

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How Do TV Ratings Work? Let the ESPN muppets tell you!

While this video from ESPN is a few years old it’s still worth a watch to understand how Nielsen measures the viewing of Nielsen family members and their in-home guests.

What’s changed since that video was made?

Nielsen now measures the online, in-app and out of home viewing of Nielsen family members.

Other Important Notes

  • If you’re not a member of, or a guest viewing in, a Nielsen family household, your viewing is never measured for TV ratings.
  • The C3 commercial ratings mentioned in the video (now also C7 for commercial viewing up to 7 days after airdate) are what advertisers pay for, and so are the only ratings that matter for ad revenue. C3  ratings are rarely seen in public, but when they are they’re very close to the Live+Same Day program ratings you see every day and C7 ratings are only a few % more. Out of home viewing is beginning to be sold to advertisers, currently primarily for sports programming.
  • Many think Twitter activity contributes to the Nielsen TV ratings. It does not!

Here’s a much newer video with Nielsen’s Brian Fuhrer talking about the TV ratings process

Check it out. (sadly, not embeddable)

Lots More Detail About The TV Ratings Numbers You See Online

Check out the “TV Basics” section at Showbuzz Daily here.

More Background Information Direct from Nielsen

Check out Nielsen’s “Ratings Academy” site.

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