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Warner Bros.

DVR usage changes Nielsen ratings picture

Football and CBS — sometimes both —dominated ratings during the second week of the television season. Increasingly, though, the Nielsen company's weekly list of most popular programs is most valuable as a first draft report on how the business is going. Each Tuesday, Nielsen releases data on how many people watched programs the previous week on the night they first aired. Later reports pick up on how many people watch on a time-delayed basis, and that often changes the picture dramatically. For instance, two football games topped the ratings in last week's report. But when Nielsen's count of people who watched a program within three days — instead of...