Networks Could Be Moving Away From Nielsen Overnight Ratings
Overnight ratings are about to undergo drastic changes that have execs with multiple networks questioning whether they will even release the numbers publicly. Nielsen has told U.S. TV networks that starting Oct. 3, it will include out-of-home (OOH) viewing in its overnight numbers. It also told the networks that it will release numbers from 44 markets at around 1:00pm ET each day. Currently, Nielsen provides numbers from 56 markets at around 8:30am ET each morning. National TV numbers, which are released around 4:00pm ET each day, will not be affected by any of these changes. Network execs expect to rely more heavily on the national viewership numbers once the overnight changes take effect. Rival TV execs have contacted each other to figure out how to deal with the changes. The goal is to get all the networks and leagues to agree to not release overnight ratings this fall. The reason: Comparisons to last year will be like comparing apples to oranges given all the changes. Still, network execs are enthused about the inclusion of OOH numbers in Nielsen’s overnight reports and are hoping that it marks a first step to having national ratings incorporate OOH viewing at some point in '20.