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Nielsen: Ratings Get Boost When Measured Over 35 Days

With the growth in consumers’ affinity for time-shifted viewing, TV shows are seeing a boost in ratings when viewing is measured over a greater length of time, Nielsen said at its annual upfront-related press gathering Tuesday in New York.

According to the measurement service, ratings for a February episode of Modern Family, for instance, rose 14% when viewing was measured for 35 days (starting with the live broadcast) versus the traditional seven days that’s been used. Episodes of NBC’s This Is Us and CBS’ Big Bang Theory saw a 13% lift from day 8 to day 35.

“Basically people are stacking stuff to watch later,” said Sara Erichson, executive VP of client solutions and audience insights.

The growing use of TV-connected devices—streaming devices like Roku and Apple TV, gaming consoles and smart TVs—are driving the importance of extended measurement periods, she said.

In 2016, adults consumed more media—roughly 78 hours a week—than they have in 14 years; They consumed just 54 hours of media per week in 2002.

Live TV viewing, however, has dipped. During the first quarter of 2017, adults 25-54 spent 18 less minutes per day watching live TV than they did the year before, Nielsen said.

In January 2017, smart TVs were used more frequently than other streaming platforms. Viewers used their smart TVs 20.8 days during the month of January. But people who streamed via gaming consoles (which they did on 15.3 days) stayed tuned the longest at each sitting—4.4 hours Nielsen said.