Have you ever been befuddled by all the funny Nielsen Ratings numbers when TV ratings are shown television series ratings is explained to you in odd numbers that don’t equate out to how many people are actually watching a show? Yea, me too.
Every time I come across TV ratings, I try to hunt down the actual number number in millions to explain it more simply. I like seeing that, hence, I like reporting that.
Yet there are times you will see TV rating numbers that look like this: 5.2/14. What’s that? The first number is the rating and the 2nd number is the share.
That 5.2 (rating) is the estimated percentage of Nielsen households that watched, ie: 5.2% of houses had the TV on with that show broadcasting out the speakers! The 14 (share) is the percentage of all their people watching that specific show, or all of the Nielsen families watching TV at that time.
In other words, 5% of all homes had the TV tuned to TV series X. Of all people (not homes) watching TV, 14% of them were watching TV series X.
Of course things are broken down into several categories beyond, the most important is the Adult 18-49 group. This is the group that will be most swayed by advertising and spend money, making it worthwhile for advertisers to send money to networks for specific shows.
But on occasion, I come across numbers and I just want to get out the actual ratings and get the article out. Hence, I thought I’d try to explain How To Read Television Ratings for you folks that happen by this snippet of info!
Here we go:
- HHs: The estimated number of television households in the U.S..
- LIVE+SD: Those who watched the show the day it aired. Whether live or DVR’d.
- LIVE+7: See LIVE+SD, but make it 7 days.
- PERS 2+: Estimated # of viewers over the age of 2 in the U.S..
- RATING #: 1 point = 1% of the estimated Nielsen universe.
Is it me, or do you find it scary they have a need to define a television viewer from the age of 2 and up?
So if you find me reporting a number that’s not in the millions, but start spouting funny numbers like a HH 5.5, or just 6.1, then the HH is 5% of estimated households, or 6.1% of all estimated viewers. There are other companies and their own methods, but today, we’re chatting about The Nielsen Ratings system.
Now you know!
Many thanks to TV By The Numbers for the human explanation and this was about as simple an explanation on TV ratings that I could muster!