How the Definition of a TV Household Impacts Your Local Media Campaign

Local Media Strategy

The definition of a TV Household is changing to include Internet households, and soon local media schedules will more accurately reflect actual ratings delivery.

By Nielsen’s definition, a TV Household includes only those homes that can view television via cable, satellite or over the air broadcasts.

As media fragmentation continues to increase, amid growing concerns on how to reach consumers, representatives from the television industry and several big advertisers have been working with the Nielsen Company to find ways to capture the viewing that is currently being missed in the existing rating system.

With the growing number of video devices that allow consumption of TV programming outside of broadcast or cable viewing, there are a great number of households that are viewing television on the internet and other devices that are not counted in the current system.

A Change in Definition

According to a recent New York Times article, Pat McDonough, Senior Vice President for insights and analysis at Nielsen, confirmed they will have a new definition of a TV Household, by September 2013, that will “include those households who are receiving broadband internet and putting it onto a television set.”

This measurement will also capture the use of iPads and other tablets that receive broadband in the home, with a second phase anticipated in 2014 that will capture video viewing of any kind, from any source.

What This Means for Advertisers

For broadcast advertisers, this is exciting news!  This change in definition will mean Nielsen’s ratings will include categories of viewing that are not captured by their current ratings system.  And, this will give advertisers a more accurate picture of ratings generated by their local media schedules.

While some internet viewing does not include ads attached to their programming (Netflix) and some are not the same as the ones that appear on the original TV broadcast (Hulu), new services are expanding across the country that stream TV shows and ads without the need for cable.

This change in definition will mean the ratings guarantees advertisers are receiving from their station partners are a more accurate representation of actual viewing, since they are capturing viewers who are watching on broadcast television, cable, satellite AND Internet.

Not only is the ratings information more accurate, but the typical Internet TV viewer tends to be a younger viewer who is more difficult to reach through more traditional broadcast means.

While this change in the definition of a TV Household won’t have a huge impact on current ratings, with only .6 percent of households in the U.S. meeting the new description, it sets the stage for more accurate measurements, as television viewing fragmentation continues to grow.

With the change in definition of a TV Household, by September of this year, local media schedules will more accurately reflect actual ratings delivery.

Linda Thomas

About Linda Thomas

Linda is the Director of Media Services at Sheehy+Associates, a regional advertising, marketing and media agency. With over 25 years in the industry, there isn¹t much she hasn¹t seen or done with regard to media planning and placement on a local, regional or national level.

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