Last month I posted about TiVo’s apparent effort to promote their Stop||Watch ratings service to the industry. Well, it looks like the effort is ongoing. On Monday Alex Petrilli, senior manager of audience research at TiVo, blogged over at MediaBizBloggers.com.
The post seems designed to cast further doubt on the value of Nielsen’s C3 (Live+3 days) data, the mainstay of today’s ad buying. It does this by raising questions seemingly designed to generate a little fear, uncertainty, and doubt in the mind of the reader:
Changing Channels In 2008, according to Nielsen, the average TV household received 130.1 channels. Today, a midrange DirecTV package includes 225+ channels. Is the C3 metric and the Nielsen sample size equipped to handle this increased fragmentation?
Tablet Time In April of 2010 the first iPad was released and second screen viewing began to accelerate at a rapid pace. In fact, according to a recent study commissioned by Viacom, tablets have surpassed computers for full length TV show viewing and now account for 15% of all viewing. The industry doesn’t currently have a viable way to measure data for second screen viewing so where is it going to come from in the future? Nielsen’s cross-platform measurement plan cuts their NTI sample in half leaving approximately ten thousand homes to interpret what is occurring on the second screen, hardly a robust sample size.
DVR Domination And then there’s the DVR: According to a number of research studies, DVR penetration has more than doubled since 2007, going from 22% to over 45% today. The C3 metric was produced in an attempt to assuage the affect DVRs had on viewing in the home. C3 measures average viewership during the specific times when commercials are aired on a minute-by-minute basis. There are a couple of flaws in this formula, the most prevalent of which is minute-by-minute analysis. If a commercial break during Modern Family begins at 9:14:46, as I understand it, 9:14 is included in the C3 calculation. Bucketing this way can cause data which doesn’t paint the real picture of viewing. Let me show you what I mean.
He then goes on to highlight the increased accuracy of TiVo’s own Stop||Watch service. And they continue to pick on poor Modern Family as their example show:
At TiVo, our Stop||Watch rating service tracks viewing on a second-by-second basis and when analyzing a top rated show such as Modern Family, the time-shifted ratings in DVR homes can drop as much as 60% over a 14-second interval in the moments after a commercial break begins. 60%! Including those 46 seconds into the C3 calculation inflates the viewership levels for almost half of all U.S. homes. There are other factors that further complicate the equation – pod busters, commercial-program integrated spots, network promos, etc. – none of which were contemplated in the construction of the C3 metric.
TiVo really seems to be gunning hard for Nielsen’s spot as the ratings provider used as the basis for ad buying. Of course, they do seem to have a superior offering that provides much more accurate data to ad buyers.