What Are TVRs in TV Advert Production?

2 mins read

The world of media buying is a dark art. Marketeers can sit in a pitch meeting with clients, creatives and media people smiling and nodding furiously as the media buying team talk about TVRs without having any idea of what they are talking about. This article will try and explain one of the great mysteries of the TV advert production process.

Television Ratings

Simply put – a TVR (TeleVision Rating)  is the measure of the popularity of a programme, commercial break or TV advert by comparing its audience to the population as a whole. One TVR is numerically equivalent to one per cent of a target audience. For example, if Love Island achieved a TVR of 12 in Yorkshire of women aged 16-34 – this means that, on average during the programme, 12% of all Women aged 16-34 in the Yorkshire region watched Love Island.

The TVRs are frequently added up to produce a Gross Rating Point (GRP) which provides a road map for the Television Media buyer.

Where things get a bit more complicated

The plot thickens when we start talking about percentages. The bases from where these percentages are taken can change which can result in large differences in terms of volume of audience who can actually view the advert.

How many people actually see a TV advert if the spot runs across the across the whole network and achieves a TVR of one? There are 50 million adults in the UK, of which 1% is 490,000. 1 TVR in London would look very different however, as there are only 10m adults in the capital, resulting in 95,000. So TVRs depend on the spread of the TV advert.

The actual audiences vary hugely too, think about the audience reach of ITV4 for example – which is dedicated to 18-40 year old men ABC. That is a completely different audience to ITV2 which is aimed at women.

This is where the media buyer comes into their own. They are data analysts at heart and poor over all the information relating to the client’s ideal demographic and pare that with the TVR information gleaned from lots of research. TVRs are a vital part of the TV advert production process, signalling exactly the road map which will allow a beautiful TV advert to achieve the best return on investment.

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