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28 mil TV viewers watch away from home

More than 28 million adults are watching cable and broadcast television each week from locations other than their primary residence, according to a new study released by the Network Television Assn.

And, according to the NTA study conducted by Nielsen, 23% of the viewing done by these 28 million people is happening in locations not currently measured by Nielsen.

The NTA, a Big Three backed trade organization, commissioned the study several months ago to track out-of-home viewing in general, with an emphasis on viewing that goes unrecorded because of where it’s done.

ABC has done several studies in the past indicating that millions of viewers go unnoticed during its “Monday Night Football” games and NBC did a similar study for its late night and daytime shows.

Nielsen does not measure viewing in restaurants, bars, college dorms or secondary homes, therefore anyone watching a football game at their local pub is not accounted for in the national ratings. Moreover, the Nielsen does not count the business traveler, thought to be a big watcher of shows like NBC’s “Today” because it’s happening in a hotel.

In the past Nielsen has acknowledged the out-of-home phenomenon, and repeatedly said it was up to the industry to decide what information it is willing to pay for and how much. Setting up to record out-of-home viewing could be a costly experience with the potential that the ultimate results not be worth the effort.

Nonetheless, according to the study, two thirds of the out-of-home viewers, 19 million adults 18 and older, watch the ABC, CBS and NBC from outside their primary residence each week. More important, that viewing accounts for an average of 4% more adult viewers for the three networks that is not being measured by Nielsen.

The study found that 27.6% of the viewing is being done in the workplace, the same number watching from college dorms. Hotel viewing accounts for 17.3% of the out-of-home audience while restaurants and bars record 10.6% of the viewing. Second homes represent 2.7% of the hour of home audience while 14.2% of viewing is being done in boats, cars, hospitals and airports.

Nielsen used a sample of 3,494 people, 12 years and older, for the study.

The NTA study indicates that there are 4% more adults (18-34) watching the three networks in prime time than are counted by Nielsen, because the viewing is being done out of home.

The audience of men 25-54 for the three networks early morning news programs is actually 7% higher than posted by Nielsen because of out-of-home viewing, a majority of which is happening at the workplace.

In the key women 18-49 demographic, the audience for daytime drama programming on the Big Three would be 7% higher if this viewing was counted by Nielsen.

If added to the mix, the tally for men 18-49 watching the three networks’ evening newscasts would be 5% higher, the study found, with more than 50% of that viewing happening from work locations.

Late night viewing would get an 8% boost from the women 18-34 demo and a 4% bump in the men 25-54 demographic if out-of-home viewing was recorded.

The number of men 18-34 watching weekend sports would jump 14% over the current in-home ratings, the NTA found.