Nielsen Reports: TVB Ratings 12 Times Higher Than ViuTV

By on May 5, 2016 in NEWS, TV Dramas

Nielsen Reports: TVB Ratings 12 Times Higher Than ViuTV

On May 3, Hong Kong’s new free-to-air station ViuTV released its viewer figures for the first time since they went on air in early April. In a “comprehensive” ratings report they released on Tuesday, ViuTV announced that its programs have surpassed 10 percent of viewership ratings. This percentage rating is a consolidated number from ViuTV’s multiple platforms, which includes views from its television network, website on-demand players, and app players.

However, the American-based Nielsen Company, which has been collecting audience measurement data for Hong Kong television in the past ten years, announced on Wednesday that ViuTV’s average network ratings during prime time (7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m.) reached only 2.1 points—at less than 200,000 live viewers. The channel’s most popular program, the reality show Travel with Rivals <跟住矛盾去旅行>, recorded an average of only 3.85 points.

Meanwhile, TVB’s prime time ratings averaged 24.4 points—nearly 12 times higher than ViuTV’s ratings. TVB’s prime time dramas Come Home Love: Dinner at 8 <愛‧回家之八時入席>, My Dangerous Mafia Retirement Plan <火線下的江湖大佬>, and Blue Veins <殭>, recorded ratings of 23.45, 25, and 26.2, respectively.

Nielsen added that the company will not recognize any ratings report released prior to May 3, alluding that they do not support ViuTV’s “comprehensive” method of reporting.

TVB has expressed their disappointment in ViuTV’s ratings report. Mark Lee (李寶安), CEO of TVB Group, stated that TVB has always employed the method of releasing only Nielsen ratings to the public due to its accuracy in measuring live television viewership. Lee added that ViuTV’s  comprehensive ratings report is “unhealthy and misleading”.

“ViuTV included multiplatform ratings in their report, which is not only misleading but also a resort to trickery,” said Lee. “I hope all broadcasters will stay professional, follow the recognized standard of reporting, and make healthy contributions to the television industry. If TVB did the same thing, there would be chaos. There wouldn’t be a fair report in ratings.”

Source: Oriental Daily

This article is written by Addy for

12 comments to Nielsen Reports: TVB Ratings 12 Times Higher Than ViuTV

  1. llwy12 says:

    Um, actually, the Nielsen way isn’t necessarily the most accurate either, as it’s a measurement based on a limited number of households and that number is then placed into a formula to come up with an average ratings number. Sure, it’s the ‘industry accepted’ way that has been utilized for years, but doesn’t necessarily mean it’s the only way forever.

    To be honest, in this day and age, with majority of audiences watching programs via internet platforms and apps, ViuTV’s way of measuring actually makes way more sense. Obviously, both TVB as well as the HK media are still functioning as though they are still in the 80s or something — a time when there was essentially no such thing as watching TV via an internet portal or mobile app.

    By the way..I find it ironic that TVB is “complaining” about ViuTV’s cross-platform way of measuring ratings when TVB actually has been doing the same thing for at least a year already if not more (they take into account their cross-platform ratings too, it’s just that they don’t announce that number to the public on a consistent basis).

    Lastly…the media really needs to stop comparing TVB and ViuTV because, as has been emphasized numerous times, they are targeting completely different audience pools, plus the whole setup of their stations are completely different and the content is different as well. They are basically comparing apples to oranges at this point, which is stupid.

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    • happybi replied:

      @llwy12 Agree..ViuTV way make more sense to me. Not many people are sitting in front of their tvs these days to watch things. It’s more via Internet and mobile phone. Make better sense to measure that way.

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    • aiya replied:

      @llwy12 I believe Mark Lee’s remark is aimed at advertisers, who are only concerned with ratings by the traditional free-to-air TV platform. As such, rating through alternative platforms are irrelevant as the advertising fees (the networks’ revenue) are determined by only traditional ratings.

      Mark Lee is a shrewd businessman and he knows what he is doing. One thing for sure is that he is not arguing for the scientific integrety of statistical methodology in viewership measurement.

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    • phixster replied:

      @llwy12 I thought Nielson changed their rating system to include online viewing and other platforms this year as well.

      Either way it doesn’t really matter that much. ViuTV is obviously not competing with TVB in terms of types of shows or audience and to be honest seems to be trying a little too hard on the variety show front. I haven’t actually watched any so can’t judge but apart from the travel with enemies show, there isn’t that much going on. Their other variety show with the vulgar games seems to be even more worse than Super Trio….

      They aren’t trying on the drama front either so I don’t know.

      Also question – since this is all digital broadcast now, is there a reason they can’t do percentage of viewers at a certain time like Japan and Korea do? I think there is a way to aggregate the data since it is digital viewership. The analogue people can’t really count anyway since ViuTV can’t broadcast to them anyway.

      And one more question – how is RTHK channel going? I’m interested to know since RTHK generally have a lot better programming than TVB so was wondering. If it is anything like my home country – the quality of government channels barring some certain shows are infinately better than the commercial ones (and doesn’t have ads too)

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @phixster I can’t recall off the top of my head whether it was Nielson that changed the ratings system or TVB and ATV agreeing to use a different system that counted both online viewing and other platforms. I think it was the latter, but would need to go back and check to be sure.

        While I do agree that ViuTV is not competing with TVB, I also don’t have a good feeling about ViuTV’s programming. From the stuff I’ve watched so far, the only programs I can say I’m actually enjoying are the drama series Margaret and David and the travelogue show Travel with Rivals. The rest of the variety programs are way too vulgar for my tastes — especially that late night talk show 晚吹, which to be honest goes beyond vulgar. Granted, some of the topics they talk about are indeed interesting and the guests do reveal quite a bit of ‘juicy’ information about the industry (like when Patrick Tang went on there and dished some interesting dirt about his former employer TVB, or when Roy Chow went on and was grilled so hard about his relationship issues that he walked off the set right then and there..Wilson Chin also spilled some interesting stuff too in his episode), but the pranking and ‘punishment’ parts are beyond disgusting (to the point that Super Trio is actually very wholesome in comparisons, lol). Interestingly enough, despite the vulgar content, ViuTV’s programs have received very little ‘complaints’ to the broadcasting authority so far (as opposed to TVB, which seems to receive complaints on an almost daily basis) — which in my opinion further brings home the point that the 2 stations are targeting completely different audiences….imagine if TVB’s traditional housewife audiences were to watch ViuTV’s programs, it would probably give them heart attacks and there would be complaints galore (hey, if TVB’s mild programming is able to consistently garner dozens of ‘silly’ complaints such as being ‘a bad influence on children’ from the housewife audiences, no doubt that ViuTV’s reality shows with all the cursing, lewd acts, nudity, etc. would garner hundreds of complaints if it were the same audience)!

        Actually, ViuTV’s way of measuring IS through percentage of viewers rather than average ratings points like Nielson (TVB) does. And they DO indicate percentage of viewers watching the program at certain times…it’s just that mainstream HK media will usually ‘translate’ it into average ratings points still because that’s the way they’re used to reporting on ratings. I actually prefer the percentage of viewers way of doing it, but of course, that’s just me…

        As for RTHK…they’re still going as they’ve been previously. Despite having an official TV channel now, they are still a radio station first and foremost, plus it’s not like their programming gets counted in official ratings. In addition, regardless of the additional TV channel, RTHK’s programs are still required to be aired on TVB and ViuTV anyway (ATV previously before they went off the air), since it’s a license requirement for the free-to-air TV stations (both TVB and ViuTV could get their licenses revoked if they don’t air RTHK’s content). I do agree that RTHK’s programs are usually alot better than TVB, though I think part of that is because there is more freedom in terms of who those producers and directors are allowed to work with, plus the content is alot more relevant to society, since it’s essentially public service programming. Alot of non-TVB artists as well as those who’ve shifted their careers elsewhere actually agree to participate in those series because of the social relevance and the resulting meaningful impact that they are contributing to society.

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      • phixster replied:

        @llwy12 I actually had high hopes for the variety show department of ViuTV when they announced their line up. Travel with Rivals is a very good concept and refreshing. However, now looking at the reports of their late night variety shows it seems that they are trying too hard to be different.

        As for ratings – well if they have a way to do percentage of viewers per time slot then someone should be able to find out percentages for the other channels right? Or at least there should be data on it. It makes so much more sense than sampling (which is why most other countries use it) – but I guess if they did percentages for everyone then Nielson would be out of a job since all you need is one data analyst rather than people who recruit samples and give out the boxes etc.

        If RTHK has a channel now, then they shouldn’t need to broadcast their shows on other channels anymore. At first I was against RTHK becoming a TV channel because it is not a commercial channel and should not compete in that sector. But the more I think about it, it isn’t actually a bad thing to have a government channel that isn’t influenced by commercial businesses and advertisers like TVB/ViuTV is because the quality of programs are so much better. They just need to make sure that the government doesn’t interfere with the broadcasting and use it politically. This is how they do it here where I live and in fact the state channel has the best political analysis and makes fun of/questions the government the most compared to other channels (and the politicians who go on the shows hate it because they get pulled up too much for mistakes they make). I guess that might be asking too much though in an Asian society where face is everything.

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      • llwy12 replied:

        @phixster Therein lies one of the problems with the ratings system in HK – it pretty much boils down to a change in mentality that no one wants to make.  The Nielson way of course isn’t the only way, but unfortunately, since their way has been used for so many years, it has become the ‘accepted’ way and anything anyone says otherwise is wrong.   Case in point – as soon as ViuTV announced their ratings (which is based on a percentage system rather than the traditional Nielson point average system), they were ‘attacked’ by not just TVB but also by some mainstream media outlets as well as general audiences, claiming that ViuTV ‘falsified’ ratings just to make it look like they are a threat to TVB.  Just this morning, I was listening to a HK radio program and the host (veteran radio host in HK) was actually ‘complaining’ why ViuTV was following in ATV’s footsteps in terms of announcing ratings that are ‘different from reality’ (meaning not employing the Nielson method) and claimed the sole purpose was to ‘make them look good’(In the last few years of their existence, ATV actually used a different ratings calculation system from TVB as well).   Of course, those ‘claims’ have no merit, but it goes to show how hardset much of HK is in the ‘traditional’ way of doing things.  Of course, part of the problem too is the HK television industry has gone on way too long with only having 1 (sometimes 2) choice of TV station that it is difficult to change things now due to the huge emotional investment that everyone – both those in the industry as well as general audiences – has made in TVB and the ‘traditional’ way of doing things….this includes HK’s media outlets.  In the past month or so since ViuTV’s launch, I’ve been hearing report after report about ViuTV ‘competing’ with TVB and how the 2 stations measure up against each other as well as whether ViuTV is an actual threat to TVB, etc. etc. – so far, not a single HK mainstream media outlet has been able to report on ViuTV objectively without pulling TVB and/or ATV into the water and comparing them in one form or another.  That’s the sad reality of the industry that I doubt will ever change.

        As for RTHK – well, to be honest, they didn’t establish a channel on their own accord…they were pretty much forced into it due to the way the government handled the licensing issue.  When the government revoked ATV’s license, the obvious choice for re-distributing ATV’s broadcasting spectrum (which is owned by the government) was to new players in the TV market, however by the time the April 1st deadline rolled around, ViuTV was the only other ‘player’ ready to broadcast.  Since the government can’t fairly give all of ATV’s broadcasting spectrum to ViuTV (especially with other players possibly entering the market at a later date), the most logical (and of course “quick and easy”) choice was to dump it on government-owned RTHK….so RTHK had to scramble last minute to come up with a plan to accommodate the broadcasting spectrum, which of course resulted in a new channel having to be created.   In that light, it’s hard to say how long RTHK’s new channel is going to last anyway, especially with the TV landscape possibly changing again in the near future.  So from a practical standpoint, it makes sense why the requirement for the free TV stations to air RTHK content is not going to be removed from licensing contracts anytime soon.    As far as what you suggested with having an independent government channel not influenced by commercial businesses and advertisers – I like that idea too, but it’s of course wishful thinking, since we all know that will never happen in HK….

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  2. m0m0 says:

    i’ve only watched one show on viutv and i wasn’t impressed. it was the margaret and david show. i just don’t think it was interesting. the story was slow and the plot wasn’t moving. there was too much hype before it was release. so boring…. if they keep making shows like this, they will fail just like atv.

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    • anon replied:

      @m0m0 I agree, I watched the first few episodes for Bowie and Catherine and couldn’t be bothered to continue. It’s so plain and dry. The plot was progressing so slow.

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  3. mulder99 says:

    TV is being viewed in different ways now, from tv sets to mobile devices, online , catchup tv…
    It makes sense that ratings should be done on multi-platform viewing.

    Viutv has a programming issue and the ratings reflects that..
    Prime time mon-wed at 8:30pm is a Korean drama, then Thurs-Friday 8:30pm Korean drama Descendants of the Sun which is good…there’s no consistency throughout the week.
    Margaret and David a local HK production is airing 2nights a week at 11pm? It’s actually not too bad..The pacing is a little slow though…

    At the moment Viutv is not a threat to TVB in ratings and that’s disappointing for viewers as TVB is just showing crap and still win.

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  4. vodka says:

    unless the station goes full on drama department don’t think anyone can go against TVB, sad to say but they do monopolize the TV market in HK.

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  5. kk12345 says:

    If Viutv wants to win TVB in ratings, just import more Korea dramas to fill in the whole 7:00 p.m. to 12:00 a.m., dub all of it in Canto. HK dramas can have an earlier timeslot before 7pm, since no one wants to watch them anyway.

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