Just a few days after TVNZ’s press release full of ratings blunders about TV3’s show 60 Minutes where they quote figures way lower than in reality, they’ve sent out another ratings press release which a number of people ended up being misled by.
Using a statistical term such as “average” in that press release was ambiguous. Many would take it to mean the most-quoted statistic of average audience, rather than what TVNZ had used and intended for people to understand: average reach.
The two measures are very different and can lead one to very different conclusions about the popularity of a show.
As a result, TVNZ has requested their publicity department ensure that in future all viewership figures are attributed to Nielsens and identified by their appropriate categories.
The two Go Girls figures, for comparison are:
Average reach: 708,200
Average audience: 348,000 (approximately half)
In case you’re wondering why the big difference in those figures, here’s what they’re measuring:
Cumulative Audience, also known as reach:
Relates to the total number of different people within the selected demographic who tuned into the selected time period for 8 minutes or more (i.e. reached at least once by a specific schedule or advertisement). It is usually represented in thousands, but can be transferred into a percentage of the potential audience.
The average number of people who tuned into the given time selected.
Reach is often used for special events such as the Royal wedding, sporting matches and finales of reality shows – where it makes sense to think about the total number of people who have watched some of the show.
Average audience is the most quoted figure, and the one most people would think of when it comes to TV viewership but of course reach gives you a bigger figure.