CBS CEO Les Moonves Calls Overnight Ratings “Virtually Irrelevant Now”

les_moonvesIt looks like the head honchos of the major networks — or CBS, at least — are finally coming to terms with how outdated overnight Nielsen ratings have become thanks to the rise of streaming shows and later-day viewing. Speaking at an event in New York, CBS CEO Les Moonves called overnight ratings “virtually irrelevant” and “almost meaningless,” citing the crime drama series Elementary — which averages nine million viewers per episode and an additional five million in later-day viewers as an example. Moonves also said he hopes that Nielsen will create a “C-Infinity” rating, where viewership for shows is calculated not just from Live+7 ratings but “for months and years beyond its original air date.”

Despite crediting binge-friendly Netflix shows House of Cards and Orange Is the New Black with changing the way a show’s success is measured, Moonves was still a little hesitant: “At what point do we start cannibalizing what we’re doing?” he said. “I know that stacking is a very exciting thing and binge-ing is the new hot term … it has not become the be all and the end all … it’s a very cool thing to do. I get it. But, we want to be very careful. You know, our bread and butter is still television advertising. That’s where it begins and then we sell it to all these other places. So by putting on a lot more episodes, it might hurt us.”

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