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VAB Offers Way to Compare TV vs. Digital

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Comparing traditional TV with digital has long been tricky. While data about digital seems more direct and accurate, measurements like unique users and minutes viewed are like oranges compared to TV's audience of apples.

While measurement companies Nielsen and comScore compete to construct a cross-platform ratings regime that works, the Video Advertising Bureau, which represents broadcast and cable TV, has come up with a formula it says provides an accurate snapshot of the number of people using TV versus those using Facebook.

The VAB’s solution is to measure average audience per minute, which takes into account reach, frequency and time spent, the factors that are important to advertisers. The VAB multiplies unique audience by average minutes viewed per visitor to get total minutes viewed. Then it divides by total minutes in the time period to get an average audience.

Using this formula, the VAB said, TV’s audience in any minute averages 45.4 million people, topping 12.7 million for smartphones and 9 million for PCs.

Television accounts for 95% of video consumption among adults and 88% among those pesky, cord-cutting millennials. TV as a whole beats Facebook 7 to 1, Pandora 15 to 1 and YouTube 15 to 1 among adults, according to the VAB.