Glossary of Terms

  • 30-Second Impressions

    Since most commercial units are 30 seconds long, it is normal to report and calculate audience impressions on commercials in terms of 30-seconds. In most common reporting environments, impression numbers are expressed in terms of 30-second impressions. When units are equivalized, units of lengths other than 30 seconds have their impressions adjusted upward or downward in proportion to their length’s ratio to 30 seconds.


  • Actual Impression

    The total impressions for a demographic group as measured by Nielsen.


  • Added Value Element

    An interstitial is an element that is sold as part of a package to an advertiser. Normally the element contains promotional matter for network programming and a tag line or other material associated with an advertiser. Some interstitials may not include any advertiser mention, but are a special type of pseudo-programmatic break matter whose adjacent time is sold to advertisers.


  • ADU

    An audience deficiency unit (ADU) is a contracted unit of commercial inventory provided at no charge to an agency in order to make up for a shortfall in viewership during the life of a national guaranteed deal whose initially contracted period has ended.


  • Avails (commercial inventory)

    The total commercial air time available yet to be sold. 

  • Average Audience

    The estimated average audience of a program during a time increment of
    its duration.

  • Average Audience Projection / Impression/(000)

    The rating expressed in numeric rather than percent form.

  • Average Frequency

    The average number of times a household or person viewed a given
    television program, station or commercial during a specific time period.

  • Average Hours of Viewing

    HUT/PVT converted to the average hours of viewing per home or per
    person. The two measurements are simply different ways to express the
    same statistic.

    Avg. Hours = Duration of the period x HUT%

  • Bookend

    A scheduling constraint defined for a pair of units on the same deal wherein the one unit should air in the first slot of a break and the second should air in the last slot of the same break.

  • Break

    Air time in between segments - these are filled with promotion slots.

  • Break Exclusivity for Product Category

    A scheduling and inventory management constraint that ensures that two units of the same primary product category that are not otherwise constrained to air in the same break will not air in the same break.


  • Broadcast Day

    A broadcast day is a 24-hour period (except on daylight savings time transition days when it may be either 23- or 25-hours), beginning at 6:00 AM.

  • Broadcast Month

    The U.S. standard broadcast month is a four- or five-week period starting on the Monday after the last Sunday of the prior calendar month and ending on the last Sunday of the month. The calendar for most U.S. broadcasting deals is built up from broadcast months. Other countries do not abide by the U.S. standard and there is no single international standard. For example, broadcast February 2000 starts on the first Monday after the last Sunday in calendar January 2000. The broadcast networks have defined exceptions to the standard broadcast month definition for the months of August 2000, September 2000, October 2000 and January 2001.  The change to 2000 was made to cause the entirety of the Summer Olympics to fall in the 3rd Broadcast Quarter of 2000. Hallmark Channel is not conforming to this change.


  • Broadcast Quarter

    The U.S. standard broadcast quarter consists of one of four three-broadcast-month periods starting in broadcast January (1st), April (2nd), July (3rd), or October (4th). There is no standard for broadcast quarters in international markets.


  • Broadcast Year

    The 12 broadcast months beginning with broadcast October. The year is named according to the calendar year in which it predominantly falls. That is, broadcast 2001 begins with broadcast month October 2000.


  • Bug

    A bug is small graphic element that is placed on the corner of the broadcast screen. Examples of bugs are an indicator of the parental rating code for the program, episode, or segment; an indicator that the program is closed-captioned; or a network logo.

  • Bumper

    A short continuity element inserted at the beginning, middle, or end of a break that encourages the viewer to stay tuned for the next segment.

  • Calendar Month

    A month in the Julian calendar, as contrasted to a broadcast month.

  • Capacity (Commercial Inventory)

    Commercial inventory capacity is the total amount of inventory available for sale. Capacity = Consumed + Avails.


  • Clock

    A template for the layout of program segment and interstitial time as it will be organized for typical airings of programs. Clocks define the progression of external and internal breaks surrounding program segments and, within the breaks, the progression of allocations of time for various types of interstitials.


  • Clone

    Clone is a bit-for-bit copy of a source digital programming asset. All matter, including any data in data channels or SMPTE signal, are duplicated.


  • Composite Demo

    Composite demo is a demographic that is comprised of two or more Nielsen kernel demographics.


  • Constraints

    The attributes of a contracted commercial unit that control where and how it can air. For example, selling title, day of week, bookending.


  • Cost Per Rating Point

    The cost to deliver a single rating point.

    CPP = Average Unit Cost / Rating %


    Total Schedule Cost/GRPs

  • Cost Per Thousand

    The cost to deliver 1,000 people or homes.
    CPM = Media Cost Impressions x1, 000

  • Coverage

    The percent of TV households that could receive a program. It’s the ability
    to view, not actual viewing.

  • Coverage area rating%

    Average Audience in percent of homes able to receive an individual cable
    network or specialty channel.

    Coverage area rating% = Average audience %/Coverage area UE

  • CPM

    The dollar cost per thousand impressions of a particular demo of a commercial or set of commercials.

  • Credit Bed

    Credit bed is the portion of the final segment of a program episode that contains the credits (producer, director, etc.). The credit bed is often “squeezed” to take up a portion of the video image, and a promotion is inserted in the unused portion of the video image.


  • Cue Tone

    A DTMF signal in the broadcast stream that indicates that an affiliate commercial time will begin in 8 seconds.

  • Cume/Reach/Unduplicated Audience

    The number of different or unduplicated HH or Persons that are exposed to a message, campagin, or program at least once; during a specified date range.

  • Cut Sheet

    A document (usually on paper) that states the title and location of items (segments, promos, or commercials) on a tape in terms of in and out timecodes (and sometimes durations) at the frame level.


  • Day Loading

    A specification for a deal that requires that a number of units be scheduled on each of several broadcast days.

  • Day-specific Methodology

    A type of posting methodology which requires that units sold to a strip trackage title use the average impressions for the day on which the unit actual aired.

  • Daypart

    A named portion of the broadcast week defined as a range of time and days of the week. For example, 6:00 p.m. - 12:00 a.m. Monday through Sunday is the Prime daypart.

  • Daypart Rotator

    A type of selling title that indicates that a unit should be aired within a daypart.

  • Demographic (Nielsen)

    Demographic is a grouping of viewers by age range, sex, and, in some cases, employment status. Nielsen predefines age ranges; sex can be male, female or both (“persons”); and employment status refers to a segmentation of women between working and non-working women (“WW” and “LOH”).


  • Digitized Commercial

    A digitized commercial is a commercial that has been ingested into a playback automation server. Synonym: dubbed commercial.

  • Direct Response (DR)

    A type of commercial where the viewer is given an opportunity to contact the advertiser immediately, by telephone (usually a toll-free number) or web address. Some direct-response advertising is sold like regular national advertising (i.e., where impressions may be counted); some is sold per inquiry (DR-PI), where the advertiser pays for the spot based on how many calls or web hits he gets.


  • Duration Averaging

    Averaging programs together by weighting according to the length of each

  • DVE

    Digital video effect

  • Effective Frequency

    The number of different or unduplicated HH or Persons exposed to a message, campaign, or program at least three times; during a specified date range.

  • Episodic Promo

    An episodic promo promotes a specific episode of a program series. See also generic promo.

  • Equivalenced

    Synonym for equivalized.


  • Equivalization

    Equivalization refers to a process that occurs when impressions are aggregated for units of different length. Units where the lengths are not 30 seconds have their 30-second impressions weighted up or down in proportion to their length. See equivalized.

  • Equivalized

    Equivalized units are units whose impressions are weighted down or up from 30-second impressions based on their ratio of their length to 30 seconds. For example, if a selling title has projected 30-second impressions of 50,000 for a particular demo, equivalized impressions for a 15-second unit would be 25,000 and for a 60-second unit would be 100,000. Agencies request that aggregations of units on deals be expressed as either equivalized or unequivalized. Contrast unequivalized.


  • Expansion Option

    An option on an ad sales deal (or proposal) that allows the advertiser to add units to the deal at a later time if slots are available.

  • Fifteen-minute Methodology

    Fifteen-minute methodology is a posting methodology that assigns impressions to units according to average viewership in the fifteen-minute interval in which the unit actually aired.

  • Frequency Distribution

    Number or percentage of households or persons that are exposed to a
    given program, station, or commercial on time, two times, three times etc.

  • Generic Promo

    A promotion that does not promote a specific episode of a program. See also episodic promo.


  • Grid

    In traffic systems, a display of a broadcast week, usually organized by time as the rows and day as the columns, that shows the programs scheduled on a network.

  • Gross Average Audience (GAA Rating)

    The estimate which reflects the sum of all tuning and viewing minutes to a
    program. Tuning and viewing to the same minute of a program (or its
    repeat telecast) are counted each time.

  • Gross Impressions (IMP)

    The GRPs expressed in numeric rather than percent form.
    Impressions = GRPs x Universe

  • Gross Rating Points(GRP)

    The sum of all ratings for all programs in a schedule.

  • Guaranteed CPM

    The aggregated CPM on a deal based on the impressions for the guaranteed demo of all units whose impressions count toward the guarantee. It is calculated as totals dollars divided by guaranteed impressions. See also guaranteed impressions.


  • Guaranteed Demo


    A demographic for a deal that Hallmark Channel and the buying agency have mutually agreed will deliver a certain number of impressions on the units of the deal.


  • Guaranteed Impressions

    The aggregated impressions on a deal for the guaranteed demo of all units whose impressions count toward the guarantee. Among the units that whose impressions do not count towards the guarantee are recaps and ADUs. A deal may also include certain value-added units, such as billboards, and added-value interstitials, whose impressions normally do not count, but may be counted on some deals.


  • Horizontal Distribution

    The placement of a set of units purchased by an advertiser across different days in a strip selling title within a week.

  • Horizontal Distribution Equity

    The degree to which horizontal distribution is even across the days in a week on a strip selling title.


  • Household (HH)

    A collection of viewers residing in the same home, as defined by the United States Census.

  • Impressions (Audience)

    Audience impressions are a count of viewings of airtime by a particular segment of the population.

  • Interstitial

    One of a series of short items broadcast between program segments. This term can refer to promos, vignettes, or any other short form of programming.


  • ISCI

    A presumably unique identifier for commercial copy assigned to most commercials by advertising agencies.

  • Kernel Demo

    A Nielsen demographic at the lowest level of granularity that Nielsen tracks.


  • Keyed Element

    An on-air video secondary element, such as a logo bug or text title, that is mixed on top of the primary video in the broadcast stream.


  • Lineup

    A type of promotion that lists several upcoming programs (e.g., “Tonight on Hallmark Channel…”).

  • Log

    The log accounts for the playtime, duration of all programs and elements of the broadcast day by

  • Longitudinal Timecode/LTC

    A timecode value recorded for each frame of a video signal in the SMPTE signal.


  • National Household Universe

    The total number of households in the U.S. with televisions. Nielsen provides a single actual number for each quarter in the past and estimated numbers by quarter for several years in the future. Nielsen periodically revises the estimated values for future quarters. All networks and agencies should have the same numbers as provided by Nielsen at any one point in time.


  • National PPH

    The PPH value for the entire U.S. population of households with television. Nielsen provides and periodically revises these values for each quarter in the future and all networks and agencies should have the same numbers at any one point in time.


  • National Rating

    An audience rating calculated as the count in the demographic viewing a program divided by the national potential audience for the demo as the base.


  • National Universe

    The total number of persons in a demo that live in a household with television. The national household universe is the national universe for the demographic “households.”

  • Network Household Universe

    The average number of households with carriage for the network over a particular time period. Each network has a different household universe. Nielsen provides current and historical numbers for network universe, which typically slightly understate true carriage numbers. Networks must project future household universe based on their own estimates of affiliate carriage prospects.


  • Network PPH

    The PPH value for that part of the U.S. population that has network carriage. Depending on the age mix of the regions where the network is carried, Network PPH may vary significantly from National PPH. Nielsen provides a single actual number for each quarter in the past.

  • Network Rating

    An audience rating calculated using the network potential audience for the demo as the base.


  • Network Universe

    A network universe is the total number of persons in a demo that live in a household with carriage for the network. The network household universe is the network universe for the demographic “households.”


  • Next-On

    A type of promotion that lists the next program on the network.

  • Nielsen

    AC Nielsen, a subsidiary of VNU, provides demographic research and metered audience information for the television industry. Nielsen is the sole credible provider of metered audience information for the purpose of certifying viewership for advertising agencies.


  • NTSC

    A video format, used in the United States, Canada, South America and Japan, named after the standards committee that defined it (the National Television Standards Committee), with approximately 30 frames per second and 525 scan lines.


  • NTSC Drop Frame/NTSC Drop Frame 30

    A method of counting NTSC color video frames that generally counts frames as though there are exactly 30 per second, but also accounts for the fact that there are actually 29.97 frames per second.


  • PAL

    The video format used in Europe and much of Asia and Africa with 25 frames per second and 625 scan lines.

  • Parental Guideline Code

    An abbreviation describing a program’s suitability to groups of viewers, e.g., “TV PG-13.” TV guideline codes may also have content codes indicating the types of potentially offensive content in the program.


  • Piggyback

    A piggyback is a type of commercial constraint requested by an agency that associates two commercial units and asserts that they should air one after the other in the same break.


  • Post-log Audit Process

    A procedure for assigning stewardship impressions to commercials that have been broadcast. Generally, after broadcast reconciliation, the network sends its broadcast log to an independent auditor who assigns actual impressions to each unit that was aired based on the date and time on which it was aired. The auditor then returns the information to the network, who use it to roll up and report actual impressions to advertising agencies responsible for ad sales deals. Depending on the difference between actual impressions and impressions guaranteed on the deal, the network may have to schedule ADUs or be able to recapture future units.


  • PPH

    The persons per household for a particular Nielsen Demographic within a particular universe of households. PPH represents the relative size of a demographic group in the population of households. This is normally expressed as a whole number that represents the number of persons per thousand households. For example, if the PPH of persons 18-49 (P18-49) is 1,812, then there are 1,812 persons in that demographic group for every thousand households. PPH is sometimes expressed as a fraction. For the example above, the PPH would be expressed as 1.812. See also National PPH, Network PPH.


  • Pricing CPM

    The dollar cost per thousand impressions (CPM) that the network assigns to a selling package.


  • Primary Element

    A scheduled event that is in the natural sequential progression of events, like a program segment, a commercial, a promo, or a network ID.


  • Program Airing In

    A term associated with an airing of a promo defining the program title in which the promo aired.

  • Program Format

    The number and length of segments in a program as described on a cut sheet.

  • Program Promoted

    A term associated with a promo defining the program that it promotes.

  • Program-Specific Rotator

    A selling title that applies to time in the schedule for a particular program. Normally, program-specific rotator applies to only one scheduled time in the day for a program. For example, if Hallmark Channel set up program-specific rotators for two airings of the program Alf at two different times during the day, they would normally be set up as two different program-specific rotators, one for each time the program aired. Contrast daypart rotator.

  • Projected Impressions

    The number of audience impressions for a particular demo that the network estimates will be generated for a particular daypart or program. This number is used in creating ad sales proposals.

  • Promotion (Promo)

    Any short-form programming produced by or for the network to promote the network or its programming content. Examples of promos are lineups, episodic promos, and generic promos

  • Rating (Audience)

    The ratio of impressions for a particular selling title to the total potential audience, including those not watching television, over some given time period for a particular demo. A rating may be either a network rating or a national rating, depending on whether the basis for the rating is the network subscribers in the demo or all in the demo having television sets.


  • Rating %

    The estimate of the size of television audience relative to the total
    universe, expressed as a percentage. The estimated percent of all TV
    households or persons tuned to a specific station.

    Rating = Share * Hut

  • Reach

    The number of different or unduplicated homes/people that are exposed to
    a television program or commercial at least once across a stated period of
    time. Also called the cumulative (cume) or unduplicated audience.

  • Reconciliation (Recon)

    The process of comparing the version of the broadcast log that was generated immediately before the air date to the version of the broadcast log that reports schedule elements that were actually run (the “as-run” log) in order to record discrepancies.

  • Reporting Demo

    A reporting demo is a demographic that is recorded in an ad sales proposal or ad sales deal.


  • Research

    The process of estimating, tracking, and reconciling Nielsen viewership levels for a network.

  • Return Tone

    A DTMF tone transmitted in a side band of the network transmission indicating the end of affiliate commercial time.


  • Rotator

    A mode of specifying where Hallmark Channel will schedule purchased commercial units wherein units will run within a fixed period or a fixed set of programs with some degree of horizontal and vertical distribution equity.


  • Schedule Element

    A video, audio or other event in the network’s daily schedule that can be separately executed in the broadcast stream. A program segment, a promotion, and a closed-captioning bug are examples of schedule elements.



    A video recording format, similar to PAL, in use mostly in France and other Francophone nations.


  • Secondary Element or Event

    A schedule element whose timing is determined as an offset with respect to a primary element. Secondary elements do not determine the sequence or timing of on-air events; their timing is wholly dependent on other events. Normally, they are keyed or otherwise mixed video, audio or data events and not full video. Examples are parental ratings code bugs, cue tones, and programmable voice-overs.


  • Server Purge Candidate List

    A server purge candidate list is a list of commercials or promos that might be able to be deleted from the server at the Network Operations Center.


  • Share of Audience

    The percent of Households Using Television (HUT) or Persons Viewing
    Television (PVT) which are tuned to a specific program or station at a
    specific time.

    Rating = Share/HUT

  • SMPTE Time Code

    A format for indicating time in the format hh;mm;ss;ff where hh is hours, mm is minutes, ss is seconds, and ff is frames. Note that semicolons are used in place of colons when NTSC drop-30 accounting is used.


  • Stewardship Impressions

    Actual impressions as reported by the post-log audit process.


  • Time Separation Constraint

    A limitation on an ad sales deal that requires units to be separated from themselves or other units in the same primary product category or for the same advertiser by a specified length of time.


  • Traffic

    The network function responsible for scheduling advertising, applying advertising copy, and producing broadcast logs. 


  • Unequivalized

    Unequivalized units are units whose impressions are treated as 30-second impressions no matter what their length. For example, if a selling title has projected 30-second impressions of 50,000 for a particular demo, unequivalized impressions for a 15-second unit would be 50,000 and for a 60-second unit would be 50,000. Agencies request that aggregations of units on deals be expressed as either equivalized or unequivalized. Contrast equivalized.

  • Universe Estimate (U.E.)

    Universe Estimate (U.E.) Total persons or homes in a given population,
    e.g. TV households in Canada.

  • Vertical Distribution

    The technique of scheduling units over a range of time (for example, 11:30 a.m. to 4:00 p.m.) on a given day.


  • Vertical Distribution Equity

    The principle of ensuring that units that are to be scheduled over a range of time on a given day are distributed evenly over that time range.


  • Viewers per Viewing Household/VPVH

    Viewers per viewing household, a category of audience tracking used by Nielsen.

  • Vignette

    Any short item of programming that can be inserted in a program break. See also interstitial.

  • Weighted Average

    Calculated by multiplying each program's rating by its duration, summing
    these products and dividing the total by the sum of the duration. See also
    Duration Averaging.

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