Dictionary of terminology

Don’t know your CPMs from your CPTs? Here is your guide to understanding the jargon filled world of television advertising (all helpfully arranged in alphabetical order).

1+ REACH / 2+ REACH / 3+ REACH / ETC

1+ Reach (2+ Reach, etc) is an estimate of the number of people, as a percentage of a target audience, who will have had the opportunity to see the advertisement at least once (twice, etc).


The characteristics of the people who make up an audience of an advertising medium in terms of age, sex, region, education, socio-economic group, occupation or any other demographic aspects.


Describes a situation where a specific group is exposed to a given medium more than other groups (or the overall population). For example: One Network News attracts slightly older viewers. Its audience is therefore skewed towards the older age groups.


The average number of people who tuned into the given time selected and expressed in thousands or as a percentage (also known as a Rating) of the total potential audience of the demographic selected. It is also known as a T.A.R.P – Targeted Audience Rating Point, eg: One Network News rated 24% last night for 25-54 year olds (or) 24% of 25-54 year olds watch One Network News last night.


This is the share one channel has of all viewing for a particular time period. The share, expressed as a percentage, is calculated by dividing the channel’s average audience by the average audience of all channels (PUTs) (It is held in higher esteem by networks than media buyers on a day to day basis and is only referred to by the latter group when apportioning budgets and evaluating a programme for sponsorship).


See “Overnights and Consolidated Ratings” below.


The cost of reaching a unit of your target audience i.e. measures the relationship between the audience reached and the cost of using the medium.


This is the geographic area claimed by e.g. a given Television or Radio station, to be capable of receiving adequate reception For Example: TVNZ covers 99% of New Zealand.


Cost Per thousand is an alternate measure of cost-efficiency using audience thousands instead of TARPs (see CPT below). Cost ÷ 000 = CPM. For example, if a programme attracted 130,000 viewers last night for 25-54’s, the ratecard value was $7000 for this programme, therefore the CPM was $54 (per ‘000).


Cost Per TARP is the measure of the cost-efficiency of a particular programme or zone. Cost ÷ TARPs = CPT


Also known as ‘reach’, and relates to the total number of different people within the selected demographic who tuned into the selected time period for 8 minutes or more (i.e. reached at least once by a specific schedule or advertisement).


Is defined as the minimum number of times a communication must be exposed to a viewer/potential consumer to positively impact on that consumers buyer / purchasing behaviour.


A term which refers to the increasing number of audience subdivisions which, when taken together, constitute total usage of a medium. For Example: TV sets can also be used as computer/video game terminals or video playback as well as normal TV viewing.


Describes the average number of times that a person within the target audience has had the opportunity to see an advertisement over the campaign period.


The combination of media used for a particular schedule / campaign.


The total impact of an advertising campaign in terms of the number of commercials, insertions, reach or frequency achieved, etc.


OTS is a media planning term use to quantifying how many time an average person in the target audience will be exposed to the advertisements over the duration of the campaign. 


These are two new terms that relate to the measurement of Time Shifted Viewing. Overnights (or Overnight Ratings) is the viewing of a television programme that occurs on the same day that the programme was broadcast. It includes viewing that is watched live and time shifted viewing within the same broadcast day (2am to 2am).

Consolidated (or Consolidated Ratings) is all viewing of a programme, live and time shifted, that occurs within 7 days of the original broadcast.


The percentage of total homes or people in a give area who own a particular media vehicle. For example, 99% of households in New Zealand own a TV set.


This is the current method of measurement of TV audiences in NZ. It involves people measuring their viewing by means of a handset and the electronic collection of the channel being watched. Data is then combined to produce estimates of viewing to programmes, channels, etc.

PUTs – People Using Television

People Using Television is the proportion of all people viewing any television channel at any given point in time.

RATING POINT (also know as a TARP)

A ratings point, or ratings for short, is the unit of measurement for the size of a television audience. One rating point represents one percent of the total number of people in a specified demographic for a particular time period. 1 ratings point in the equivalent of reach 1% of the target audience.

With the measurement of Time Shifted Viewing it is increasingly common to hear Ratings described as LIVE RATINGS to differentiate them from OVERNIGHT RATINGS and CONSOLIDATED RATINGS (see above).


This is the cost of an advertisement as shown on a published ratecard for any given medium. It does not take account of any discounting.


Is the term used to express the total percentage of a target audience who are exposed to a commercial at least once throughout a campaign period. This figure represents unduplicated audience exposure.


R&F’s are always looked at hand in hand, one measures the number of people exposed (unduplicated), and the other the number of exposures.


Is a way to manage the Sales process so that broadcasters can most revenue from the airtime we have for sale. It involves a sophisticated approach to programme pricing, discounting and inventory control.


The number of people used in a survey e.g the peoplemeter panel,to give a statistical estimate of the viewing audience.


This is the share one channel has of all viewing for a particular time period. The share, expressed as a percentage, is calculated by dividing the channel’s average audience by the average audience of all channels (PUTs) (It is held in higher esteem by networks than media buyers on a day to day basis and is only referred to by the latter group when apportioning budgets and evaluating a programme for sponsorship).


Target Audience Rating Points are also known as ratings and are an estimate of the size of a specific viewing audience to a channel, programme or timezone. 1 TARP is the equivalent of reaching 1% of the target audience.


The viewing of television broadcast programming at a later time than the live broadcast time. It includes the playback of a previously recorded programming and the pausing of a programme as it is broadcast live, and then continuing to watch it in playback. Time Shifted Viewing will be included in Nielsen’s ratings from January 2012 (see “Overnights and Consolidated Ratings”)


How many minutes/hours an audience has viewed a particular channel. There are two calculations that can be used that provide significantly different figures. The measurement in dataline provides the TSV a programme for the average person within the demographic, regardless of being a viewer or not. This calculation is made with ave. aud. and potential. The second calculation provides the TSV for actual viewers and is made using ave aud and cumulative audience.


In the world of television airtime sales the term Trading Currency refers to the unit in which most television airtime is sold and evaluated. The current trading currency is a Rating (see above). With the introduction of Time Shifted Viewing in January 2012 the trading currency will change to a Consolidated Rating.


Each day in the Peoplemeter sample the distribution of homes and people is checked against Statistics NZ Census data to ensure the correct proportions are in place. Any differences in these proportions are corrected by weighting, eg: If a distribution is higher in the panel, a weight of less that 1:00 is applied. If it is lower, a weight greater than 1:00 is applied.


Are we missing something? If so send us an email and we’ll get it added to this list of terminology.