TV Networks To Forecast Viewership for The Week After Shows Air

CBS and NBC Will Join Fox In Releasing Ratings Projections

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When NBC and CBS release their over-night ratings for their batch of fall premieres next week, they will also include projections for viewership in the days following, the networks said.

CBS announced on Wednesday it will supplement its daily overnight ratings with projections for seven-day ratings, which the eye network said better reflects the total audience.

NBC will include projections for both the three days and seven days following a program's original airing in its release of over-night ratings, said said Alan Wurtzel, president of research and media development, NBC Universal. The network will not include projections for new series, Mr. Wurtzel said, since they don't yet have a track record.

"Once these shows get into a pattern there's a pretty stable relationship between live ratings and live plus three and live plus seven," he said.

"[Live-plus-7] and C7 are the metrics that more accurately account for how viewers watch our shows and how we get paid for our programming – both in advertising and content licensing," said CBS President and CEO Leslie Moonves, in a statement.

It is important to note that the networks are providing projections for live-plus-3 and live-plus-7 ratings, which do not reflect viewership of commercials. Those are reflected in what is known as C3 and C7 ratings, which show the average commercial minutes viewed in programming three and seven days after an episode airs.

Mr. Moonves added that C7 deals were a significant part of the network's upfront negotiations. This means CBS is getting paid for ads viewed in the seven days after the initial airing of an episode.

Mr. Moonves has been vocal in saying that over-night ratings are essentially a meaningless barometer as more viewership is time-shifted.

Mr. Wurtzel compared overnight ratings to a telephone booth -- nearly obsolete.

CBS is basing its projections on historical increases in viewers for each program. For new programs, these projections will initially be based on time-shifting patterns of programs in the same genre until the network has actual results, the company said.

Fox has been making these projections available since last season and released forecasts for "New Girl" and "The Mindy Project" following their season premieres on Tuesday night.

"New Girl's" fourth season bowed on Tuesday night to 3.1 million total viewers and a 1.6 rating among adults 18-to-49. But Fox is estimating that in the three days following the show's airing, the demo rating will increase to a 2.5 and will further grow to 2.8 after a full week. "The Mindy Project" is expected to have a 1.9 rating among adults 18-to-49 after a week, up from a 1.3 rating over-night.

These projections are yet another move by TV networks to keep up with evolving viewing patterns, as increasing people watch shows on a delayed basis.

On Tuesday, NBC release ratings for the entire 52-week season, which it said it "now considers the standard season going forward." This is a reflection of networks airing more original and scripted series in the summer months.

And this summer FX Networks made the decision to hold back releasing live-plus-same-day ratings for its new shows, waiting until the three days after episodes aired.

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