Tim Worner: ban overnight ratings

Seven CEO Tim Worner has floated the idea of banning Overnight ratings, as Free to Air viewing continues to fragment.

“I don’t believe we should provide overnight numbers,” Worner told a ThinkTV forum this week.

“I think we should provide overnight shares and then once we actually know what the total audience for a show is, that’s when we should provide a number. Not before, when we’re actually providing a number that’s misleading because it’s not the total audience of the show. You could know what a total is after seven days, after 28 days.”

Dramas in particular are seeing big lifts as viewers watch them on their own schedules, while shows such as Love Island are attracting big numbers anywhere other than traditional broadcast.

The US has added Live+3 Day ratings to address similar concerns while Australia has 7 and 28 day data.

But 28 days in lieu of Overnights may make for difficult press reportage and could impact audiences being emotionally invested in their performance.

A 28 day limit would, in theory, mean this week reporting numbers for the Logie Awards, Buying Blind and Back in Time for Dinner. Would anybody still care?

This week networks backed a plan for a VOZ “Total TV” measurement in 2019 to track broadcast viewing on TV sets and connected devices. It will be in addition to existing overnight ratings and Video Play Measurement data.

Long-held calls to dispense with metro ratings in favour of a single national number are yet to be backed, along with questions about strategic coding of shows.

OzTAM is collectively owned by Seven, Nine and TEN.

Source: Australian Financial Review


  1. I don’t fully understand how tv rating work but you would think in 2018 in our digital age they could tell how many people are watching a show in real time.. not the sample of 100 people and determine it from that.

    • carolemorrissey

      Yes, I watch a lot of TV & it really annoys me that I can’t get one of those ratings box thingys. A lot of shows I have liked over the years have been axed even though most people I know watched & liked them. You’d think in this digital age those things would be obsolete.

  2. Jᴏʜɴɴʏ1ᴘ5

    Would think with all the Sport Seven have and paid top dollar for that they’d be campaigning more for an extension to what is counted as Primetime Rating times. Even if just on the weekends making it count from say Midday to Midnight instead of the usual 6pm to Midnight, with the AFL Grand Final staying thus far in the afternoon and Cricket coverage coming up it’d make sense.

  3. Great: so there won’t be a media release from seven the next time one of their shows has a major overnight win?

    Lead by example Timothy

  4. Live figures are important and a good measure of engagement. Advertisers need to know who is watching live. I see no problem releasing the live figures the next day and then consolidated after 3, 7 and 28. Are the networks next going to argue that we need a Live 50 rating because I’m pretty sure people don’t stop watching catch up after 28 days. Where do we draw the line?

  5. What he says makes sense, but as the article points out, it would be a difficult adjustment for audiences and media. Certainly 28 days may be more indicative, but people won’t wait for even the three days used in the US.

    Maybe more attention should be paid to making the gathering of the data more relevant to modern standards. The ratings box now seems quite antiquated.

  6. Why as an advertiser so I care what a show rated on catch-up where the viewer didn’t see my ad? What a scam. They are following print media who have done the same thing. Numbers plummeting? Just leave your ad rates where they are and make up new numbers!

    • Absolutely. My daughter watches “Bold & The Beautiful” on Tenplay at work next day during break. Takes 20 mins. No commercials. Where’s my commercial that I paid WIN for when it aired yesterday? I just want the overnight figures, not some mashup of figures grabbed from everywhere over a month. Just ‘how many saw my ad yesterday’? Harvey Norman also doesn’t care about how many may see his ad next week for their sale that “ends Sunday”. We pay for overnight FTA numbers. A % Share is meaningless without a number of eyeballs.

    • barrington bumbaclaart

      Traditional style commercials run during an “ad break” are only part of the advertising picture. You are forgetting in-programme promotions, sponsorship and product placement. These will all still be relevant when looking at consolidated figures.

  7. Would certainly mean media buying agencies have to change a lot of their thinking – could be a double-edged sword and drive those agencies more towards media that provides more regular data (i.e. digital).

    I think 28 days would definitely be too long – but 7 days could work still?

    • Worner is only talking about stopping the media from publishing the limited information they are allowed and commenting unfavourably on the popularity of shows on his network. The Overnight ratings accurately measure what people watched on TV that night and that is what he is desperate to stop people knowing and talking about. Media buyers would of course still be able to pay for the minute by minute demographic breakdowns, they would just be be sued if they told anybody about it.

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