Nielsen Is Prepping Networks for Major Changes to ‘Overnight’ Ratings Reporting

New method, which aims to capture out-of-home viewing, slated to start in early October

Nielsen, the TV ratings company whose data has been used as industry currency since the 1950s, has been prepping networks for significant changes in the way it reports “overnight” numbers starting this fall, insiders at two major broadcast networks tell TheWrap.

On Oct. 3, the overnight ratings for primetime TV shows are expected to be sent to networks at 1 p.m. ET the following day, or four and a half hours later than they currently are. (We’ll save you the math: Overnights are currently available around 8:30 a.m. ET.)

The overnight numbers, which are also referred to as “metered-market ratings,” were typically the earliest-available metric for the previous evening’s programming, and a good way to analyze and compare the performance of live events like sports and awards shows. That data set, which  currently measures Nielsen’s panel viewership in 56 major TV markets, will only count 44 markets come October.

Why is all of this happening? Nielsen is planning to add out-of-home viewership to the local-market overnight numbers (not the national ones — at least, not for now) to generate…

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Tony Maglio

TV Editor • • Twitter: @tonymaglio