YES Survey: Out-of-Home Viewing High

Dec 12, 2005  •  Post A Comment

A study commissioned by the YES Network found that the sports channel’s ratings would rise nearly 15 percent if viewers in offices, bars, dorms and hotels were counted. The study, conducted by Nielsen Media Research, was requested by the network in an effort to prove that it has a valuable audience watching out-of-home.

Sports networks in particular have long claimed that an important segment of their audience is not being measured, and the new study quantifies that viewership in the New York market for the first time in memory.

The YES survey was conducted in late September and early October, when baseball viewership is high and students are away at school. It found that ratings among men 18 to 49 would increase by 14.5 percent if out-of-home viewership were included, and that ratings in adults 18 to 49 would increase by 10.4 percent.

Out-of-home viewers were more likely to be under the age of 35, more likely to have attended college and more likely to have an income of $70,000 or more.

YES plans to use the study when it negotiates with advertisers.

“I think most advertisers will look at this as a bonus, something that they have not paid for, have not quantified. Now we’re showing them they can quantify it and there is certainly a tangible value to put on it,” said Michael Wach, executive VP of ad sales for YES. “It should help in our average rates, in our yearly deals and in flighted seasonal deals.”

He thinks the new information could mean increases of 10 percent in YES Network’s advertising rates.

In the New York market YES is the highest-rated regional sports network. Mr. Wach said he believes the study will help RSNs around the country as well.

ESPN has been commissioning surveys on out-of-home viewing for three years. Its surveys are sponsored by other organizations, including Fox Sports, the NFL and sister company ABC, said Artie Bulgrin, senior VP of research and sales development for ESPN.

The 2004 survey found that 43 million people watched television in unmeasured locations, up 17 percent from 2003. For ESPN alone, that represents incremental ratings of more than 10 percent, depending on the show and the demographic.

Mr. Bulgrin expects the out-of-home audience to be bigger again in this year’s study. Results will be available in February.

“Out-of-home audience has become more important,” Mr. Bulgrin said. “Advertisers are putting value on it.” And at a time when advertisers are concerned about their commercials being zapped, some out-of-home viewers are captive audiences. “Now that we’re in a world of on-demand and nonlinear, out-of-home audience may be very valuable if the viewer is not in control,” he said.

Also part of the out-of-home audience are college students, who are valuable to advertisers.

Nielsen has been conducting a project to measure extended home viewing, which would include viewing in a second home and by college students living at school. Those meters are not now included in the national ratings but have yielded some interesting information, according to a Nielsen spokesperson.

Nielsen is considering adding that viewership to the ratings next season, but is meeting with clients to get financial support, the spokesperson said. A decision could come in a matter of weeks.

Mr. Wach said YES does not plan to make the study an annual project.