There has been a lot of press on the drop in Nickelodeon’s ratings but no absolute confirmation on what has caused the drop or which networks if any have gained. MPG’s Collaborative Alliance STB Data Committee was intrigued and decided to investigate.
As part of the Collaborative Think Tank meeting, run by Mitch Oscar at MPG this week, the group shared some data findings to spark an industry conversation about its cause and effect.
What the group discovered is that kids are still watching TV. The number of hours tuned for K2-11 is up and the K2-11 UE is flat despite a decline in Total HH UEs. The core Saturday Morning daypart delivery was flat for Nielsen year to year and was up almost +9% for Rentrak in those homes with a Presence of Kids. It was clear from the presentation that it is valuable to be able to compare different measurement companies to gain a fuller perspective on an audience delivery.
The group examined:
Three different datasets – Nielsen, Rentrak and Tivo.
Thirteen months of delivery data for both trending and year to year (Nov 10 vs Nov 11) comparisons.
Percentage of gross impressions as well as average delivery
HH with Presence of Kids (for commonality because not all services measure K2-11)
Dayparts M-F 7a-8p, Weekend mornings 8a-12n and Weekend afternoons 12n-8p.
A relatively comparable list of Children’s networks. But it should be noted: Nielsen does not measure Boomerang, Rentrak does not measure Sprout and TIVO only measures HH for Disney, Nick Jr, The Hub and Sprout -- Not HH with presence of kids.
1. There were differences between Nielsen and Rentrak in overall daypart delivery year to year. With Nielsen, average delivery by network by daypart, gross delivery declined -5% year to year in M-F Daytime and Weekend Afternoon and was flat (-1) in Weekend Morning. So it looks like the Children’s network ecosystem (among the examined network set) is slightly shrinking overall, according to Nielsen. Rentrak shows a gain in overall impressions +7% in Weekday, +9% in the Morning and +4% in the Afternoon.
2. Nickelodeon has lost delivery and share of audience throughout the year in all three dayparts according to Nielsen and TIVO. Rentrak shows Nick flat in Weekend Morning and off in the other two dayparts examined.
3. While the industry has speculated that Nick’s loss is Disney’s gain, the data showed that while Nickelodeon lost percentage of share year to year across all three examined dayparts in Nielsen, their loss was not one specific network’s gain. And in Rentrak, Nick did not show consistent declines across dayparts.
Looking at Nielsen, Nick lost -7 share points Monday-Friday while Disney gained +4 year to year. But in Weekend Morning, Nick declined -2 share points while Disney was flat. And in Weekend Afternoon, Nick was off -4 while Disney was -1.
Rentrak generally patterned Nielsen in Weekday (Nick -7 and Disney +2) and Weekend Afternoon (Nick -5 and Disney -1). But in Weekend Morning, Rentrak shows a slight gain for Nick of +1 compared to a slight decline for Disney -1.
4. Though not discussed during the Collaborative, the issue of Nielsen Universe and Sample size needs to be explored because they would seem to suggest that Nielsen’s shrinking deliveries for the children’s networks in totality might be partially sample based.
Nielsen’s Proportional Estimated Sample Size (PESS) for K2-11 declined -4% year to year while the K2-11 Universe, the Multi-set Universe and the Persons Per Demographic Breakdown by 100 TV HH were all flat and kids tuning hours was up.
Could there be a sample size or cooperation issue with K2-11 that might help to further explain what is happening to the kids television ecosystem?
Mitch Oscar, EVP at MPG and director of the MPG Collaborative Alliance, sums it up. “We are glad that the kids are alright. Even though they have many opportunities for alternative media usage, linear TV remains strong. And depending on whose currency you use, Nielsen is only down slightly and Rentrak shows growth. More to follow.”