It’s been a big week for The Disney family. Last week, they broke their Netflix contract to announce a new Disney streaming service for their television and movies. On Monday, ABC veteran Shonda Rhimes signed a deal with Netflix, leaving a major hole in the network’s primetime lineup; dependable hit shows like The Bachelorette and Survivor have taken recent ratings hits. So, what’s an entertainment giant to do? Sign up for Nielsen’s Out of Home service.
Out of Home, Out of Mind
The ratings giant launched its Out of Home service in April 2017. Designed to measure viewership and ratings for television watched outside the home, Nielsen aims to provide subscribers to the service with daily data on viewership by adapting their PPM solutions for CNN to other major broadcast networks. This is potentially huge news for the likes of ABC, whose viewership on some of its biggest shows has dropped significantly. Season 6 of Scandal fell 14% among the 18-49 crowd, a 33% dip from the season 5 finale’s viewership. Reality show pillar Survivor was down to 8.4 million, a series-long low.
The Future of Ratings
Despite the obvious drop, ratings aren’t always everything. Rating stats are calculated by using a representative sample of around 25,000-40,000. These sample homes are then given a black box—special trackers to help measure what they watch and for how long. From that sample, Nielsen creates a sample model that uses sample data to create a nationwide snapshot.
That sample doesn’t accurately represent viewers who aren’t at their home television at the time of broadcast. People out to sports bars to watch the game, award show or season finale parties, streaming service viewers, even mobile on-demand—Nielsen’s traditional model doesn’t account for these viewers. This gap has created the need for customized solutions, such as those offered to CNN; these customized solutions are now the basis of Nielsen Out of Home, which will begin to paint a more picture of who watches television and how.
All of this is great news for advertisers. The ABC-Nielsen deal presents an opportunity for further customization and product targeting for their demographics. Instead of guessing about the impact of their ads on non-traditional TV viewers, advertisers will be able to read patterns on mobile viewers and adapt their tactics. This is especially important for the network’s 18-49 demographic, whose viewing style vary depending on their watching style.
While it may take a few weeks to see consistent trends, ABC’s team can better measure the success of its shows—and better predict programming stumbles before they happen.