Report: ABC may have benefited from Nielsen’s glitch
RATINGS NEWS—As Deadline first reported last week and as was hinted by us last week and again this week, Nielsen definitely had an issue with reporting. What initially came off as perhaps an underreporting is reading more like an over reporting in ABC’s benefit.
Since the start of the season, ABC shows have seen anywhere from a tenth to three-tenths of a boost in the demo between the early preliminaries and the final overnights while other shows remained the same or ticked down.
Three-tenths is an unprecedented uptick. Two shows in shows in the same night, is unheard of. And to have almost two weeks worth of shows getting adjusted is cause for concern.
[quote_box_left]Why shows are adjusted?
Shows are adjusted for several reasons either upward or downward.
1. Previous program overruns*
2. Sports/News preemptions*
3. Unidentifiable data
* is often the reason why adjustments occur
[/quote_box_left]In most circumstances, barring any preemptions due to sports or breaking news in the top tier markets, most shows see little change from the earlies to to the lates with those changes not significantly impacting the final ratings.
During the first week and a half of the new season, ABC shows saw anywhere from one-tenth to three-tenths of an upward adjustment. This is unprecedented.
The sole exception for ABC came on Sept. 29, when network programming was preempted in two markets. At most, adjustments would have been at most four-tenths based on the market size affected. Instead, Dancing with the Stars and Castle saw a two-tenths drop, better than what most industry insiders had expected. The drop should have been three-tenths based on previous revised numbers for other same-market size preemptions.
So what happened and why how has ABC benefitted, including Castle?
According to Variety, it appears data not properly labeled that’s set aside during the fast nationals was improperly attributed to ABC. In other words, when some of it should have gone to other networks, it all went to ABC.
This was brought to light by CBS who saw that Dancing with the Stars was adjusted upward when it was preempted by football in two markets.
To make this clear, it is CBS saying this, not Nielsen. Nielsen hasn’t said where those undocumented viewers went to. Considering how ABC shows saw unusual upward adjustments, it appears ABC benefited from the glitch.
All those “bumps” ABC has been seeing since premiere may week may actually be inaccurate. Executives say it won’t be much—meaning .05 at most. But that won’t be known until revised ratings are released. Everything is being tight lipped about how much this problem will impact final ratings.
To break this all down, what does this mean for Castle?
In short, I don’t foresee any huge adjustments for the show once Nielsen releases the revised numbers over the next several weeks. But, not knowing exactly how many unidentified viewers there were, it’s hard to say. In most cases, we’re talking a handful of viewers.
Nielsen says most shows won’t be affected while a handful will see a significant change.
Either way, Castle is still a strong performer. And that’s something to take to heart. And keep in mind, this affects the fast nationals to the final numbers.
Even a 1.9 show can get renewed as long is stays ahead of other shows on its own network. And given some of the other hour longs on ABC, Castle is in a good spot.