It strikes me I've started doing a lot of stuff with the True Strength numbers without having any real "home base" from which to link it all. So here goes, and let me know if I'm forgetting something.
True Strength is a metric that takes the Live + Same Day adults 18-49 rating (the publicly available number that most closely correlates with advertising rates) and adjusts it for the three big external factors that affect TV ratings: overall viewing levels, timeslot competition and lead-in rating. The output is a number more reflective than the raw 18-49 rating of the show's "true strength."
The first version of this number was designed during summer of 2011 after studying how shows behaved in the face of big changes in those three factors. Now, a big part of my day-to-day activity on this blog involves studying what True Strength has to say about TV ratings along with problems that may exist with the metric.
For more general info on the meaning and functions of True Strength, see the intro I did in the middle of designing the number last summer. As far as the formula itself and what went into creating each part, I recommend the summary of the process, which I wrote at the end of the summer and which links back to every single summer post.
Day-to-day implementation of True Strength
The final True Strength calculations for every regular broadcast program on TV can be seen in the SpotVault. Most Vault updates for the previous week come on Wednesday (when I get the half-hour breakdowns that allow me to make the most accurate TRUE calculations).
On each of my daily ratings posts, I post the preliminary True Strength calculations for each program. These are less accurate because they're based only on full program ratings, but on average they're within about 5% of where the final will end up.
Each Wednesday, I look at the "True Top 25" programs from the past week. This is a fun way to compare the biggest programs on TV while accounting for their respective timeslot situations. Here are the last five, and you can see more at the true top 25 label:
Every week or two, I try to pump out a post detailing some of my recent observations about how the True Strength metric is working. Sometimes, I also throw in some TRUE comparisons between shows in vastly different situations. These posts are called Notes from the Vault:
True Strength also takes part in year three of my First Two Weeks posts. At the "system" page, I line up the first two weeks of ratings for all the new scripted shows on broadcast TV, then I also line up the first two weeks of TRUE.