The CEO of one of Australia’s largest television networks, James Warburton has called for immediate end of reporting for overnight TV ratings data.
In an opinion piece published in the Nine owned Australian Financial Review, The CEO of the Seven Network, James Warburton has described overnight metro ratings figures as “misleading” and “antiquated” and has called on media journalists to cease reporting on the data.
“Overnight audience numbers are misleading. In some cases, they represent less than 70 per cent of a TV program’s true audience. When catch-up viewing in its various forms and live-streaming are added, some programs add hundreds of thousands of “new” viewers. Not hundreds, but hundreds of thousands.
For years, self-appointed experts have proclaimed TV is dying. They are, of course, wrong (and, in many cases, biased). TV isn’t dying. It is changing. It is adapting to changes in how, where and when people want to watch video content.”
The call comes after ratings agency OZTAM recently started providing a new Total TV ratings report to media outlets at 9am. The new report combines metro and regional broadcast viewers for the last 7 days, combined with viewers who consume content online via Broadcast Video On Demand (BVOD).
The introduction of the new Total TV report has seen overnight data de-prioritised by networks with the information now released one-hour later at 10am. TV Blackbox is one of a limited number of media publications which is now reporting Total TV Ratings figures on a daily basis.
“Most of the journalists who write about TV are ignoring the total audience numbers and still focusing on overnights.” says Warburton.
“That is not even remotely surprising. As an industry, we spent decades feeding the media reporting of the overnight ratings. The only way to stop that is to stop the public distribution of the overnight ratings. That isn’t going to happen, at least, not yet”
The overnight ratings are not what we trade on with media buyers or for our clients, and anyone who tells you otherwise is wrong. The seven-day total audience numbers are an important currency and show the real reach and impact of our content.”
You can read the full the opinion piece from James Warburton published here.