NBC Owned Stations has endorsed the TVB's position that Nielsen's live plus same day ratings data is most representative of the national C3 standard, adding that the group's preferred metric should be the minimum ratings standard for local television viewing.
The TVB is a trade association representing local broadcasters.
"As consumers rely more and more on time-shifted viewing, we strongly believe that live plus same day ratings data best reflects how people watch television today," said Valari Staab, president of the NBC-owned group. "With 63% of DVR playback occurring within the same day a show first airs, it makes perfect sense to update the local measurement standard to most accurately and reliably represent today's television viewership habits."
Reliable C3 ratings are not currently available in local markets, according to NBC.
According to the TVB's analysis of Nielsen data for the 2012-2013 television viewing season, live plus same day ratings are 5% above the national C3 rating.
Bill Fine, chairman of the TVB and WCVB Boston president and general manager, said live only ratings are outdated. "The trends lines are crystal clear," he said. "The live plus same day ratings are significantly closer to C3 and getting closer every year, while the gap between live and C3 has grown to a deficit of -16%, the largest since (TVB) has been tracking the numbers."
The agencies will likely dig in their heels against such a shift. If live plus same day is adopted at the station level, media buyers may compensate for the higher ratings by negotiating lower CPMs.
"Perception lags reality," added Fine. "The reality is we long ago crossed the line of a paradigm shift from live to live plus same day as the most accurate and current measurement of local TV ratings."