The switch to commercial ratings that include time-shifted viewing from live ratings has improved the performance of the broadcast networks, according to a new report from a Wall Street analyst.
Neither the broadcast networks nor Nielsen release data on C3 ratings, the numbers upon which advertising sales and revenue have been based since 2008. But in a new report, Michael Nathanson of Nomura Securities says the commercial ratings are significantly better for the broadcasters and that cable networks are starting to see benefits as well.
In the third quarter, the Big Four broadcasters' primetime ratings among adults 18 to 49 -- the most commonly used demographic in media buys -- were down 3.5% using C3, compared to down 7.3% using live program ratings, the old ad industry currency.
In the report, Nathanson says that cable ratings also improved in the third quarter for cable, swinging from a 1.8% decline using live program ratings to a 2.4% increase using C3. For NBCUniversal and Viacom, two of the biggest cable programmers, the use of C3 was the difference between falling ratings and rising ratings during the quarter.