December 8, 2005
Nielsen DVR Ratings forthcoming

(Via Lost Remote)

On December 26, Nielsen is shifting over to a three-part rating system, with the latter two data streams reporting on DVR playback. The three streams are:

1) live, viewing excluding any DVR playback;
2) live plus same day, live viewers and those who played back programs on a DVR within one day of their initial airing; and
3) live plus seven, live viewers and those who played back programs on a DVR within a week of their initial airing.

While up to 90% of DVR users skip ads, the expanded DVR ratings will be important for gauging the reach of product placements, particularly if Nielsen releases minute-by-minute breakdowns of their ratings so both producers and program sponsors can see when viewers were tuned in.

Says Sara Erichson, general manager of national services for Nielsen Media Research, "With regard to the different flavors of data, it was pretty clear that different clients had different needs and different priorities."

Changes in Nielsen ratings, the basis upon which networks and advertisers negotiate the value of ads, threaten to drastically alter how advertising deals are structured. Many ad buyers, not surprisingly, don't like the new streams and say they won't include DVR viewers in deals they make during next spring's upfront; more viewers mean more money that advertisers could be asked to shell out.

Of course, 45% of all viewers of live TV don't watch ads either. Still, the spread of DVRs and the availability of TV shows for online download should start pressuring advertisers to sink more money into product placement any day now...