Nielsen Ratings breakdown

The Nielsen ratings are of the most important things in the TV industry. It’s the underlying factor if a show on any channel will be getting picked up for another season or if itll be cancelled.

Ratings are much more than saying a show got X amount of viewers, it’s a little more difficult than that, and I feel its my duty to share some Nielsen ratings terminology before I start just reporting things that makes sense to nobody except me.


Ratings for last weeks Modern Family was as follows

  • Modern Family
  • 13.1 million viewers
  •  HH: 7.9/12
  • A 18-49: 5.6

In other words, Modern Family was watched by:

  • 13.1 Million viewers
  • Received a Household rating of 7.9 and a share of 12
  • Received an Adult 18-49 rating of 5.6 (this is the demographic that is most important to advertisers).

That still may seem a little confusing. Are you asking what a rating and a share is? Well this is what it means:

  • Each rating point represents 1.31 million people. If the household share was 7.9. that means 10.349 million households watched that night (079 x 131 = 10,349).
  • If Modern Family got an adults 18-49 rating of 5.6, that means 7.336 million 18-49 year olds watched that night (056 x 131 = 7,336)
  • The Share is the total percentage of households in America watching at a certain time. 12% of households were watching Modern Family that night.

Ultimately, it will look like this: Modern Family (13.1 million viewers, adults 18-49: 5.6. HH: 7.9/12).

Hopefully this wasn’t too confusing. If you have any questions, just leave some comments!

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