What is a TVR?

A TVR stands for a Television Rating.  It measures how popular a TV programme is, allowing for the commercials around it to be priced according to likely viewing numbers.

For our purposes, we would generally stick to a “Network Adult TVR”, rather than other segmentations.

Think of the entire UK adult population watching television.  This number is calculated as 49,000,000 adults. A TVR is 1% of this.  That’s 490,000 adults.

So, 5 TVRs would be 2,450,000 views. It best to think of these as views rather than people, because over time, people will see an ad more than once. 2 millions viewers each seeing an ad 4 times is 8 millions views, or 16.3 TVRs.

This means there is a huge difference in audience between a commercial shown on a weekday afternoon, reaching 200,000 viewers, (0.41 of a TVR), versus an advert shown at peak-time during Coronation Street, reaching 8 million viewers. (16.3 TVRs).

Obviously, most commercials are shown more than once.  Most would be part of a campaign, used over a period of time, shown on various channels at various times.

An advertiser will know how much they are spending and how many TVRs that spend will get them. It’s part of the media buying process.

Some times the production house you are dealing with genuinely might not know the TVRs, because the client is holding that information back. In this situation, you are being unfairly asked to give a price. If I walk into a carpet showroom and ask them to carpet my living room, their first question will probably be, “How many square metres is that?”. Without that information, they can’t give me an accurate price.

In other forms of advertising there are similar terms used and calculations for pricing. “Impacts” is often used in radio.  “Impressions” is often used online.  Both are the numbers of views or listens an advert receives.  These are often priced into thousands, with a related price.  These might be called “CPT” – Cost Per Thousand, or “CPM” Cost Per Mille (Thousand).

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