As many of you know, I’ve regularly commented on the use and mis-use of rating figures and the confusion over the difference between average audience and cumulative audience (also known as reach). An article about New Zealand’s Got Talent in Stuff does not help clear things up for readers, saying:
“While Nielsen put the average audience of the TVNZ show at 934,820 viewers, TVNZ said NZGT attracted all up over 1.4 million Kiwis”
The two figures aren’t at odds: one is the average audience (934,820) and one is the cumulative audience (1.4 million). Further, both figures are provided by Nielsen. TVNZ quotes ratings figures provided by Nielsen.
Here’s their definitions once again:
Cumulative Audience, also known as reach: The total number of different people who tuned into the selected time period for 8 minutes or more.
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 premieres/finales of reality shows – where it makes sense to think about the total number of people who have watched some of the show.
Thanks to Stuff’s article, there’s comments such as:
“I think most people know TVNZ will be heavily “massaging” the viewer figures.”
“It’s ludicrous to suggest that 1 in 3 Kiwis watched this episode but I guess in this age of lazy journalism you’ll just print whatever stats the network feeds you without question.”
“I bet the ratings were exaggerated by TVNZ as I certainly did not watch it”
“Wow, what inflation! This morning this article said that 980,000 New Zealanders aged 5 and over watched the show now it says it attracted over 1.4 million Kiwis. Where did the extra 400,000 come from? It seems that TVNZ has bumped the number up this afternoon to make the show look more popular than it was.”
“Curious to know how they get their figures.”
It’s a shame that TV reviewers aren’t clear on the meaning of industry figures, since they’re a key indicator for the make or break of many shows.