Today’s television viewers have not just changed what they’re watching, but how they’re watching it. Channel surfing no longer entails simply switching between ABC and CNN, confined to the couch. Instead, viewers are bouncing between a new Netflix series, a viral YouTube video and live ESPN coverage of the big game – hungrily consuming video on whichever device is nearby.

But while video streaming sources that make on-the-go viewing convenient have certainly poached viewers from the big-name networks, the majority of Americans (59%) still cite cable as their primary means of TV viewing.

Before advertisers breathe a collective sigh of relief, brands with big media buys aren’t in the clear just yet. With “non-traditional” viewing on the rise, there’s been some static surrounding the long-preferred TV rating methods. With about 70 billion advertising dollars being traded each year based on Nielsen’s findings, it’s no wonder that advertisers are itching for a change. And the fate of TV programs? That rests in the hands of this viewership data as well. If 70 billion bucks doesn’t seem worth their while, consider that TV ad revenue is expected to reach $82 billion by 2020.

To keep up with the trends, in 2017, Nielsen officially retired their “diaries,” the printed booklets used to sample random households’ viewing habits for over 60 years. The “diaries” are being gradually swapped in favor of completely electronic methods, with the transition expected to be complete by June 2018. Since the new system’s implementation began about six months ago, 7,700 Code Reader homes have been recruited and installed. Thanks to Portable People Meter (PPM) measurement, sample sizes have been doubled and a new out-of-home viewing segment is available. Furthermore, electronic measurement enables year-round reporting that doesn’t leave any time periods unaccounted for.

This shift toward digital data collection is likely just the beginning. With traditional TV still the largest video consumption source, it’s crucial that rating systems continue to evolve with viewing habits. Whether they’re watching Netflix or NBC, TV audiences want their voices to be heard – and advertisers are more than happy to listen.

Our M2 Media Team knows the ins and outs of ad placement, always negotiating to get our clients the best price for the premium time slot on the most relevant channel. To learn more about how TV ratings affect what we do here at Motivated Marketing, reach out today!