Updated: Bad stat of the week runner-up: TVNZ

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.

Average 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.

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About the author

Co-founder of Throng. Favourite TV shows recently: Homeland and The Newsroom.
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  • TV Addict

    TVNZ!! are horrible

  • serl

    where is Andi???

  • TV Addict

    Huh? TVNZ really are horrible and im not just saying it because i prefer tv3 over tvnz. These days they seem to always get ratings wrong. This show isn’t good enough to get ratings that big. 

  • Rachel

    This just in from TVNZ:


    The 5+ data that we released of 708,200 tuning in each week is an average of the total number of individuals that tuned in each week (known in audience measurement terminology as an average reach figure). 


    This data was for all available episodes of Go Girls at the time of the release (so excluded the final episode, which only went to air last night and for which we did not receive data until 10AM this morning).


    The numbers Throng have used in their article are the average audience watching an episode at any point in time (ie ratings, but expressed in thousands of people) as opposed to the average reach which we quoted.


    The data from both Throng and TVNZ are correct, they are simply different measures of Go Girls’ performance.

  • Rachel

    Normally they mention the word reach in press releases where they quote that, so it’s really misleading to me.  

  • DexTR

    Well, Throng now beats up local drama? This just doesn’t feel like it suits you guys. Quite honestly, I took the article to mean that TVNZ wanted to sing the praises of this local hit and also wanted to honour the writers and everyone who sweated to make it so.

  • Rachel

    I LOVE Go Girls.  It’s my favourite NZ TV show 🙂

    This has nothing to do with the show, it’s about statistics for me.