At present, ad-free TV viewing accounts for about 15-16% of the average person's total television consumption, compared to ten years ago when the figure was only 8-9%, with pay cable and PBS leading the way. But today we have Netflix, Amazon, Hulu Plus and others capturing an increasing share of viewing time. A recent Nielsen tally reported that 87% of its adult panel members watched one or more TV shows (national or local) on broadcast and cable in a week; ten years ago the corresponding percentage would have been 94-95. If you are using TV reach tables based on old data, chances are that you are overstating the potential audience of your media plans by a significant degree. This fall, we will offer a new set of realistic reach tables by daypart and key demos that take into account TV's new "reach ceilings." In the mean time, how are you coping with the problem?


J.P. Monty
Oct 23, 2015

Yes, we've noticed that our brand allocations, as determined by the client's media director and staff following upfront corporate buys, do not deliver the planned reach levels based on our standard tables. We are looking forward to your new report.
Fran Jackson
Sep 30, 2015

Ed, this sounds like a much needed initiative. At our agency, we have been trying to make some adjustments to our reach tables and I look forward to comparing our curves with yours. The point about the ratings being based on commercial, not program, audiences is very well taken. It's a new ball game.
Ed Papazian
Sep 28, 2015

@Walter: The system will provide data for five standard dayparts--Early AM, Daytime, Early Fringe, Prime and late fringe. Tables will be available for adults, men and women by age: 18+, 18-34, 18-49, 25-54 and 55+. We also include an upper income break ( HH income $150,000+ ). Finally, except for prime, where we do broadcast and cable separately, plus a combo, the other dayparts employ a mix of broadcast, cable and/or syndication, as appropriate.
Ed Papazian
Sep 15, 2015

@ A. Goldberg. Except for primetime, where we do show reach curves for the broadcast TV networks separately, all of our other tables involve mixes of broadcast, cable and/or syndication, as we deemed appropriate. This is because of limitations in the databases foe syndication and cable and also, because there is a lot of disagreement as to exactly which cable channels and syndicated entries should be included. To avoid the problems this poses, we have gone with a media planning, not a buying, approach--- where the planner is not as concerned with exactly what shows or channels are included but wants a good estimate of overall reach at a particular GGRP level.
A. Goldberg
Sep 10, 2015

So, Media Dynamics, what demos and dayparts are you including in your new service and will you be breaking out cable as distinct from Broadcast?
Walter Katz
Sep 09, 2015

I certainly agree and your initiative is a much needed fix to a vexing problem at my agency. We have been using subjective adjustments to lower our TV research estimates to bring them more in line with reality.

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