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February 28, 2021

Sunday Fast-Affiliate Nationals Planned Delay

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Written by: Mitch Metcalf
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Fast affiliate-based nationals for Sunday 2.28.2021 will not be available at the normal time (Monday 8am PT / 11am ET). The revised delivery time is 11:30am PT / 2:30pm ET.

Audiences for major events that are live to all time zones (such as Super Bowl, AFC or NFC Championship, Olympics, Oscars, Grammys and Golden Globes) are substantially under-counted in the fast affiliate nationals, which do not include West Coast viewing from 5-8pm PT. This three and a half hour embargo gives the broadcast networks and Nielsen time to assemble more accurate time zone-adjusted audience estimates without the low, unadjusted numbers circulating.

Theoretically, the fast affiliate-based nationals could be re-programmed ahead of time to handle live events. Each network’s default setting would be the standard broadcast feed (measuring viewing of the network’s affiliates from 8-11pm ET, 7-10pm CT, 7-10pm MT and 8-11pm PT). If a network airs a live event, however, that network’s setting on that day only could be toggled to a live feed (measuring viewing of the network’s affiliates from 8-11pm ET, 7-10pm CT, 6-9pm MT and 5-8pm PT). Two fixed settings would enable nearly-accurate initial numbers at the normal 8am PT delivery time every day, no matter the feed condition. To our knowledge, this solution has not been attempted. Until then, this kind of embargo will be standard following high-profile live television events.

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About the Author

Mitch Metcalf
MITCH METCALF has been tracking every US film release of over 500 screens (over 2300 movies and counting) since the storied weekend of May 20, 1994, when Maverick and Beverly Hills Cop 3 inspired countless aficionados to devote their lives to the art of cinema. Prior to that, he studied Politics and Economics at Princeton in order to prepare for his dream of working in television. He has been Head of West Coast Research at ABC, then moved to NBC in 2000 and became Head of Scheduling for 11 years.




3 Comments


  1. 69 Road Runner

    That was a strange episode of ‘Malcolm In The Rookie’ last night….


  2. ryan

    it’s just so strange that they’ve always had time zone adjustments figured out for prelim market-by-market overnight ratings, but never for the NTI sample


  3. Roy Currlin

    I imagine you’ve tried to get Nielsen to change the fasties in the past. As you note, it’d be easy, but the nets pay extra for time zone adjusted numbers and I guess Nielsen wants to protect the networks’ wishes since now more that ever they pay the bulk of the Nielsen bill (advertisers and agencies now being a small minority).



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