TV is not able to offer the level of reporting digital can provide … at least for now. That doesn’t mean that it is less effective. It just needs to be used and measured differently as we adjust to new offerings and ways of advertising.
Luckily, we are seeing some changes as TV tries to keep up with the growing needs of advertisers and agencies.
For more than 60 years, Nielsen has been the only one in the game as it relates to providing TV ratings data. They have been the constant in the TV ratings world, telling you how many people watched and what kind of demographic profile they represented. Historically, Nielsen was your only option. That is no longer the case.
comScore, previously Rentrak, has joined the TV ratings game. This is not new information. But as more stations and networks begin to adopt comScore, we are coming face to face with new/different ratings data.
ComScore and Nielsen provide slightly different offerings for their clients.
The main differences between these two providers are the methodology used and how they handle their data.
With both Nielsen and comScore moving to all set top box data collection to gain more accuracy, there is a big elephant in the room – some cable companies won’t share their data. Currently, only the following companies share their data:
Both comScore and Nielsen are missing data from the main cable households:
Spectrum is set to begin sharing its data with both companies this year.
Nielsen is still the ratings currency of the majority of the stations that I work with. Their ability to give statistically sound demographic ratings and their evolution to 100% return path data this year will mean larger sample sizes, making ratings and viewership data more reliable and estimating program audiences more precise.
As comScore gains more of a foothold, it will be interesting to see what happens. I’m not here to say which one is better or which one everyone should be leaning on – it needs to be addressed on a case-by-case basis dependent on the stations being used and the client’s needs. What I will say is that I 100% support comScore entering the ratings game. The Nielsen/comScore competition will push them to evolve and enhance their products and create better products for more accurate data and reporting for clients.