LOS ANGELES (AdAge.com) -- ABC's "Lost" and CW's "Gossip Girl" aren't among the most-viewed programs, according to Nielsen. But when the dizzying number of new ways people watch content are taken into account, the programs move to the top of an annual ranking of "content power" as conducted by Publicis Groupe's Optimedia.
Optimedia's "Content Power Ratings " combine viewing data from TV, online and mobile devices to measure audience engagement with specific TV shows. While Optimedia has compiled its rankings for two years previous to this one, this year's compilation is the first to include social-media data from Nielsen BuzzMetrics and Facebook fan pages to better track a particular show's "engagement."
Under this methodology, a broadcast series like ABC's "Lost," the No. 35 show on TV, according to Nielsen, places second only to "American Idol" in terms of viewers, buzz and multiplatform streaming. Similarly, The CW's "Gossip Girl," ranked No. 125 in the Nielsen ratings this season, ranks No. 14 under the Content Power Ratings methodology because of its high volume of online streams as well as online chatter among its young fan base.
Even "The Jay Leno Show," which was canceled due to disappointing ratings and pushback from NBC affiliates, places No. 17 on the Content Power Ratings chart despite ranking at No. 55 on traditional TV.
Optimedia's ratings have nothing to do with how TV networks and advertisers conduct negotiations for ad time. But marketers are growing more interested in nontraditional measures of how consumers watch video programming. Nielsen's IAG service measures how viewers respond to and recall TV shows, ads and product placements and its data has been used to create deals such as one between NBC and Toyota.
Optimedia CEO Antony Young said his agency's findings serve as a helpful planning tool for clients when determining which TV shows to place integrations or multiplatform ad buys.
"We want to have more access to partnerships with shows and brands, and this allows us to use Content Power Ratings as a matchmaking business," Mr. Young said. "What we're doing now is saying, 'What's the value of these shows beyond the 30-second buy into these shows?' When you buy the right integrations around the right shows, those brands start rubbing off around our clients' brands."
Mr. Young pointed to Subway's resurrection of NBC's "Chuck" as the perfect example, a deal that helped the show rank No. 25 on the Optimedia chart despite finishing No. 57 in the Nielsen rankings.
And even though Nielsen will look to combine its TV and online-viewing data for the first time this fall, Greg Kahn, Optimedia's exec VP-director of business development, said he expects to continue to look at other data sources to determine a show's overall fan following.
"Nielsen is a partner of ours, but our school of thought is there's not one vendor that can necessarily tackle this topic, because there are many sources of data that need to be aggregated," he said. "The conversation is still just TV and online viewership. It doesn't go into the advocacy and involvement buckets we look at. The conversation is certainly happening around those topics, just not in as interesting of a way as we're talking."
Content Power Ratings