Nielsen Media Research is informing local TV clients that it is close to a decision on whether to convert local ratings to the same standard now used for national TV ratings. Mediapost reports that in a letter to stations Friday, Nielsen said it is considering a switch to “live-plus-three” commercial ratings for local TV, meaning ads would be sold based on the ratings for commercials, and that commercials watched within three days on digital video recorders would count.
Some of the big station groups have been agitating for the switch in order to standardize the ratings formula for, say, a CBS-owned station with the CBS Television Network. Local TV is expected to have a robust 2008 with record political spending driving strong growth, even as overall growth declines. TNS is expecting a 9.9% increase for local TV, while BIA Financial says 11.5% growth.
Still, a switch to commercial ratings may make things more complicated, and makes no sense for all but the biggest stations. Local stations in much of the country are still measured by written diaries, meaning any second-by-second measurement for the programs — let alone the commercials — isn’t yet feasible.
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