Skip to comments.TV Industry Frets As Nielsen to Unveil Ad Ratings (Dinosaur Media DeathWatch™)
Posted on 09/25/2006 1:25:09 PM PDT by abb
For many television executives, particularly at cable channels that carry a lot of commercials, Nov. 18 might be a good day to be out of the office.
That is the day Nielsen Media Research is scheduled to release, for the first time, formal ratings for commercial breaks. The ratings will show advertisers how many people watch their ads, as opposed to the programs that carry them. As the date approaches, nervousness is increasing in the TV industry as executives ponder what the data might show about their particular networks.
The industry expects Nielsen's data to show a noticeable ratings decline, perhaps as much as 5% to 10%, for ad breaks compared with viewership for the accompanying program. At the same time, a consensus is also emerging that viewing drops will be greatest among certain cable channels that carry more commercials than their rivals, media buyers say.
"As a viewer, I'm overcommercialized on cable compared to network," says Larry Spiegel, a principal at the Richards Group, an independent Dallas ad agency. "Those that are having ad breaks every five minutes, every eight minutes, they could suffer more."
The greater the loss of viewers, the more a network could face pressure to cut the price charged for ads -- or reduce the number of commercials. "There are networks that will do better, networks that will have shorter pods [commercial breaks]," says Jason Maltby, a president at WPP Group's MindShare. "The ones that have historically programmed longer pods might have to rethink the way they do business."
Some cable-channel executives privately agree that certain channels, especially those that show lots of movies, are vulnerable to outsized declines in viewership because of the heavy number of ads they run.
(Excerpt) Read more at online.wsj.com ...
To pre-empt complaints from advertisers, cable executives have argued that Nielsen's methods of collecting the viewing data are flawed. Cable executives made that case at a closed-door meeting with Nielsen on Thursday, attended by about 40 people, including representatives of numerous TV channels. Convened by NBC Universal and Mediaedge:cia, a WPP Group media-buying firm, Nielsen executives answered questions about how their commercial-ratings data are collected.
One of the big issues is that the ratings are meant to cover only the minutes of commercial time sold to national advertisers and not the portion of commercial time available to local advertisers. Nielsen systems have trouble differentiating between a national and local ad within the same commercial break on a cable channel. Nielsen says it expects to improve its methodology.
TV executives came away from the meeting more convinced than ever that the ratings need to be evaluated before they can be used in any ad-sales negotiations. Nevertheless, some on the network side say the data must eventually become part of regular negotiations about the price of TV ads. "There are going to be mistakes, but we are kind of moving on [examining the commercial-ratings data]," says Alan Wurtzel, NBC Universal's president of research. "Advertisers and clients want more accountability."
Commercial prices have long been based on ratings for a particular program, not on ratings for ad breaks or the ads contained within them. Advertisers have expressed a desire to know about the ratings performance of individual commercials, amid heightened concerns about the effects digital-video recorders are having on viewing habits.
Some cable outlets may be in a position to benefit from the ratings, say media buyers. Viacom's Nickelodeon already has fewer commercial minutes than other networks, owing to government regulations about how many commercials ought to be allowed on kids-oriented media.
Generally, though, TV networks may have to start treating viewers better. Length of pods and the amount of commercial clutter are "something I would consider if I were running a cable network," says Mark Rosenthal, a former MTV Networks executive who is chief executive of Interpublic Group's media-buying operations.
I don't know about the rest of you, but I NEVER watch a commercial. I flip to movie channels or the weather channel to see what's going on.
Why would anyone watch a commercial?
Probably...I for one never watch commercials. I almost always surf during commercial breaks. The only time I don;t surf is if I'm heading for the kitchen or the bathroom.
Poor things. If they had broadcast the truth and not their agenda, they would be doing well. No sympathy from me.
They may try showing fewer commercials but charging more per commercial.
Outside of NFL football games I never watch the Networks. When the commercials come on is time to take a head call and get another beer.
If your wife makes her living in Advertising you do.
I can see some networks running into trouble with this new method for measuring viewership during commercials.
The fact is that viewers use that time to surf the channels to see if there's something more interesting happening in other channels.
Also, how can anybody measure when a commercial is on and the viewer is not paying attention and/or has the volume lowered or muted? I for one might leave the station on during commericial breaks, but I also keep magazines or newspapers handy for reading during commercials. I might also go and do a little browsing on the internet during those commercial breaks which can sometimes be as long as 5 minutes. You can get a lot done during those 5 minutes.
The only commercials I see these days are on the 24 hour news channels. Everthing else I watch is pre-recorded on my DVR which mean all commercials get skipped over.
At least Katie Curic does not have to worry. No one is watching her in the first place, let alone the commercials.
If I don't watch any commercials on Fox News it's because I have all four of them memorized.
I have a hard time watching the "entertainment " part of the show, because the computer usually absorbs my attention away..I hardly even notice the commercials..
I'm trying to think of one single thing I've ever bought as the result of watching a TV commercial, but I can't.
BUT WAIT! THERE'S MORE!
They have had their way for years and decades.
Now nothing is going their way.
5 minutes into a movie, it's a 3 minute commercial break. Won't watch the channel because of it..