Fox Research Boss Discusses Imperfect Network Ratings Reporting

And it’d even be “obsolete” if Nielsen could turn around Live + 7 Day numbers in reasonable time, Will Somers tells TheWrap

Nielsen is a slowpoke — you know it, and we know. And Will Somers certainly knows it, even if the Fox Research boss didn’t go that far with his own words.

The current and longstanding TV ratings currency company takes forever to release its Live + 7 Day data, which is why Somers and Co. settled for sharing three-day delayed numbers at the earliest, he told TheWrap on Tuesday.

“Personally, I think [Live + 7 Days] makes more sense,” Somers said. “We want to report as comprehensive a measure of our audience as possible.”

And the senior executive vice president would prefer to give viewers even more time than that to watch and be counted by the mainstream media: “I don’t think that’s limited to seven days by any stretch,” he added.

In November, Fox swore off “live” ratings for all non-events, though the rest of the broadcast world has yet to make that same promise. Plus, Nielsen still produces Live + Same Day ratings, which the industry — including TheWrap — still reports every weekday.

Here’s an example from today of how those daily stories — and numbers — look.

No one disagrees that delayed viewing gives a more accurate snapshot of shows — particularly scripted ones — but no one wants to wait the for industry turtle Nielsen to return a week’s worth of viewing.

As an example, we had last night’s Live + Same Day ratings by about 11 a.m. ET this morning. Networks won’t have the Live + 7 Day numbers from last night until Monday, March 14 at the earliest — two weeks after the night of airing, and a week after Nielsen stops measuring viewing.

However, last night’s three-day delayed viewing numbers — Fox’s new gospel — will be available Saturday, a more-reasonable five days following the broadcast.

If the company can ever shorten the lengthy seven-day delay — Somers’ most immediate call to action for TV ratings currency — “You can move to a place where you see [Live + 3 Days] becomes obsolete, and you just go to a seven-day window,” he told us.

We’ll see about that.

For its part, here’s what a Nielsen spokesperson told TheWrap on the subject: “Nielsen is making a significant investment in order to process and report timeshifting data in a shorter timeframe. Our clients have been receptive to this idea and we are on track to deliver this advancement in the fall.”

“The last two years have been a time of tremendous innovation at Nielsen and we are working directly with clients to communicate these advancements and meet their needs,” the person added.

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