HOME
        TheInfoList






Nielsen TV ratings (commonly referred to as Nielsen ratings) are the audience measurement systems operated by Nielsen Media Research that seek to determine the audience size and composition of television programming in the United States using a rating system.

Nielsen Media Research was founded by Arthur C. Nielsen, a market analyst who started his career in the 1920s with marketing research and performance analysis. The company expanded into radio market analysis in the late 1930s, culminating in the Nielsen Radio Index in 1942,[1] which was meant to provide statistics as to the markets of radio shows. The first Nielsen ratings for radio programs were released the first week of December 1947. They measured the top 20 programs in four areas: total audience, average audience, cumulative audience, and homes per dollar spent for time and talent.[2]

In 1950, Nielsen moved to television, developing a ratings system using the methods he and his company had developed for radio. That method became the primary source of audience measurement information in the US television industry. In September 2020, Nielsen started compiling a weekly Top 10 list of most watched shows on streaming platforms.

Measuring ratings

The original data collection methods used to generate Nielsen TV ratings included:

  1. Paper "viewer diaries", in which a household recruited by the company self-recorded its viewing or listening habits. By targeting various demographics, the assembled statistical models provided a rendering of the audiences of any given show, network, and programming hour. This methodology was phased out by the company as electronic data collection became more sophisticated, and it was discontinued completely in June 2018.[3]
  2. Set Meters, which are small devices connected to televisions in recruited homes. These devices gather the viewing habits of the home and transmit the information nightly to Nielsen through a telephone line. This system is designed to allow market researchers to study television viewing habits on a minute-to-minute basis, recording the moment viewers change channels or turn off their television set. Nielsen replaced the set meters with Portable People Meters (PPM), which collect the data of individual household members through the use of separate logon credentials and allow the company to separate household viewing information into various demographic groups.

Changing systems of viewing have impacted Nielsen's methods of market research. In 2005, Nielsen began measuring the usage of digital video recording devices such as TiVos. Initial results indicated that time-shifted viewing (i.e., programs that are watched after the networks have aired them) will have a significant impact on television ratings. A year later, the networks were not factoring these new results into their ad rates because of the resistance of advertisers.[4]

In July 2017, Nielsen announced that it would include select programs from subscription-based video on demand (vSVOD) services Hulu and YouTube TV in its Digital in TV Ratings system.[5] Since about October 2017, Nielsen also began to track select programs from Netflix. Partnering distributors insert a "ta

Nielsen Media Research was founded by Arthur C. Nielsen, a market analyst who started his career in the 1920s with marketing research and performance analysis. The company expanded into radio market analysis in the late 1930s, culminating in the Nielsen Radio Index in 1942,[1] which was meant to provide statistics as to the markets of radio shows. The first Nielsen ratings for radio programs were released the first week of December 1947. They measured the top 20 programs in four areas: total audience, average audience, cumulative audience, and homes per dollar spent for time and talent.[2]

In 1950, Nielsen moved to television, developing a ratings system using the methods he and his company had developed for radio. That method became the primary source of audience measurement information in the US television industry. In September 2020, Nielsen started compiling a weekly Top 10 list of most watched shows on streaming platforms.

The original data collection methods used to generate Nielsen TV ratings included:

  1. Paper "viewer diaries", in which a household recruited by the company self-recorded its viewing or listening habits. By targeting various demographics, the assembled statistical models provided a rendering of the audiences of any given show, network, and programming hour. This methodology was phased out by the company as electronic data collection became more sophisticated, and it was discontinued completely in June 2018.[3]
  2. Set Meters, which are small devices connected to televisions in recruited homes. These devices gather the viewing habits of the home and transmit the information nightly to Nielsen through a telephone line. This system is designed to allow market researchers to study television viewing habits on a minute-to-minute basis, recording the moment viewers change channels or turn off their television set. Nielsen replaced the set meters with Portable People Meters (PPM), which collect the data of individual household members through the use of separate logon credentials and allow the company to separate household viewing information into various demographic groups.

Changing systems of viewing have impacted Nielsen's methods of market research. In 2005, Nielsen began measuring the usage of digital video recording devices such as TiVos. Initial results indicated that time-shifted viewing (i.e., programs that are watched after the networks have aired them) will have a significant impact on television ratings. A year later, the networks were not factoring these new results into their ad rates because of the resistance of advertisers.[4]

In July 2017, Nielsen announced that it would include select programs from subscription-based video on demand (vSVOD) services Hulu and YouTube TV in its Digital in TV Ratings system.[5] Since about October 2017, Nielsen also began to track select programs from Netflix. Partnering distributors insert a "tag" into the program to be distributed on these services, which Nielsen then tracks through its meters system. Partnering distributors are able to determine if these ratings can be released publicly

Changing systems of viewing have impacted Nielsen's methods of market research. In 2005, Nielsen began measuring the usage of digital video recording devices such as TiVos. Initial results indicated that time-shifted viewing (i.e., programs that are watched after the networks have aired them) will have a significant impact on television ratings. A year later, the networks were not factoring these new results into their ad rates because of the resistance of advertisers.[4]

In July 2017, Nielsen announced that it would include select programs from subscription-based video on demand (vSVOD) services Hulu and YouTube TV in its Digital in TV Ratings system.[5] Since about October 2017, Nielsen also began to track select programs from Netflix. Partnering distributors insert a "tag" into the program to be distributed on these services, which Nielsen then tracks through its meters system. Partnering distributors are able to determine if these ratings can be released publicly or not.[6]

Ratings/share and total viewers

The most commonly cited Nielsen results are reported in two measurements: ratings points and share, usually reported as: "ratings points/share". There were 119.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2017–18 TV se

In July 2017, Nielsen announced that it would include select programs from subscription-based video on demand (vSVOD) services Hulu and YouTube TV in its Digital in TV Ratings system.[5] Since about October 2017, Nielsen also began to track select programs from Netflix. Partnering distributors insert a "tag" into the program to be distributed on these services, which Nielsen then tracks through its meters system. Partnering distributors are able to determine if these ratings can be released publicly or not.[6]

The most commonly cited Nielsen results are reported in two measurements: ratings points and share, usually reported as: "ratings points/share". There were 119.6 million TV homes in the U.S. for the 2017–18 TV season (Nielsen's National Television Household Universe Estimates).[7] The number of persons age 2 and older in U.S. TV households is estimated to be 304.5 million. A single national ratings point represents 1% of the total number. Nielsen re-estimates the number of television-equipped households each August for the upcoming television season.[8]

A Rating is a percentage of the group. It is basically calculated at RTG = HUT x SHARE where HUT (or PUT when measuring demos) is Homes Using Television and share is the percentage of TV sets that are being used which are tuned to a particular show. Share is NOT the percentage of television sets in use.

Share is the percentage of television sets in use, Households Using Television (HUT) or Persons Using Television

A Rating is a percentage of the group. It is basically calculated at RTG = HUT x SHARE where HUT (or PUT when measuring demos) is Homes Using Television and share is the percentage of TV sets that are being used which are tuned to a particular show. Share is NOT the percentage of television sets in use.

Share is the percentage of television sets in use, Households Using Television (HUT) or Persons Using Television (PUT) who are tuned to a specific program, station or network in a specific area at a specific time.[9][10] For example, Nielsen may report a show as receiving a 4.4/8 during its broadcast; this would mean that 4.4% of all television-equipped households (that is to say homes with a TV set, not total number of people), regardless of the TV being on or not, were tuned in to that program, while 8% of households that were watching TV at that time were watching the specific program.[11]

Because ratings are based on samples, it is possible for shows to get a 0.0 rating, despite having an audience; the CNBC talk show McEnroe was one notable example.[12] Another example is The CW show, CW Now, which received two 0.0 ratings in the same season. In 2014, Nielsen reported that American viewership of live television (totaling on average four hours and 32 minutes per day) had dropped 12 minutes per day compared to the year before. Nielsen reported several reasons for the shift away from live television: increased viewership of time-shifted television (mainly through DVRs) and viewership of internet video (clips from video sharing websites and streams of full-length television shows).[13]

Nielsen Media Research also provides statistics on specific demographics as advertising rates are influenced by such factors as age, gender, race, economic class, and area. Younger viewers are considered more attractive for many products, whereas in some cases older and wealthier audiences are desired, or female audiences are desired over males.

In general, the number of viewers within the 18–49 age range is more important than the total number of viewers.[14][15] Acco

In general, the number of viewers within the 18–49 age range is more important than the total number of viewers.[14][15] According to Advertising Age, during the 2007–08 season, ABC was able to charge $419,000 per commercial sold during its medical drama Grey's Anatomy, compared to only $248,000 for a commercial during CBS' CSI: Crime Scene Investigation, despite CSI having almost five million more viewers on average.[16] Because of its strength in young "demos" (demographic groups), NBC was able to charge almost three times as much for a commercial during Friends as CBS charged for Murder, She Wrote, even though the two series had a similar amount of total viewership during the two seasons they were on the air concurrently.[14] Glee (on Fox) and The Office (on NBC) drew fewer total viewers than NCIS (on CBS) during the 2009–10 season, but earned an average of $272,694 and $213,617 respectively, compared to $150,708 for NCIS.[17]

Nielsen also provides viewership data calculated as the average viewership for only the commercial time within the program. These "Commercial Ratings" first became available on May 31, 2007. Additionally, Nielsen provides different "streams" of this data in order to take into consideration delayed viewing (DVR) data, at any interval up to seven days.[18] C3 was the metric launched in 2007, and refers to the ratings for average commercial minutes in live programming plus total playback by digital video recorder out to three days after.[19] By the end of 2012, some television executives wanted to see C7, ratings for live plus seven days, with CBS Corporation chief executive officer Les Moonves making the claim C7 made ratings increase by 30%.[20]

Sweeps