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Rentrak Rates Viewer ‘Stickiness’

28 Sep, 2009 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Rentrak Sept. 28 released initial data from its nascent “stickiness” index designed to monitor the amount of time viewers watch a network or cable TV program.

Unlike traditional ratings that register the number of households watching a particular program, the "stickiness" index is based on the average percentage of time a program is viewed, divided by the average percentage viewed for all series of that duration during Monday-Sunday primetime (8-11 p.m.) program series air times.

Programs with the most engaged viewers will have higher "stickiness" indexes and could conceivably be more attractive to advertisers.

Portland, Ore.-based Rentrak, which tracks data measurement in addition to administering DVD rental pay-per-transactions, said it would release weekly the top 25 “stickiest” 30-minute, 60-minute and 120-minute programs on network and cable TV beginning Oct. 1.

Indeed, data collected during the test week of Sept. 7 through Sept. 13, found that President Obama's address to congress was one of "stickiest" programs across multiple networks.

Fox News Channel did not deliver the highest rating for the address; however, its viewers were more likely to view the address in its entirety, according to Rentrak.

"The correlation of ratings-to-engagement is an integral component in determining how "tuned in" viewers are when they are watching their favorite programs," said Bruce Goerlich, chief research officer, at Rentrak.

Audience interaction with TV and cable programming has come under scrutiny by advertisers and media companies as increasing numbers of viewers migrate to the Internet for repurposed programming.

Indeed, in the most recent online video data from comScore, Hulu.com, which is co-owned by The Walt Disney Co., News Corp. and NBC Universal, in August generated 38 million viewers who watched repurposed ABC, NBC and Fox programming with a fraction of the ads found on the network broadcast.

Earlier this month, TV networks launched the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement in an effort to better understand current and future viewer ship data on TV and online.

"As an industry, we can't afford not to do this, because if we can't measure our audience accurately, we can't sell it,” said Jeff Zucker, president and chief executive of NBC Universal, in a statement at the coalition launch.

Rentrak and separately, Nielsen Co., are banking that similar efforts to quantify and qualify online viewers will entice greater advertising support for online programming.


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