[07/19/06 - 12:00 AM]
Nielsen's Recently Announced Plan to Measure Commercial Ratings Will Enhance the Position of the Broadcast Networks in the Advertising Marketplace

[via press release from CBS]


The New Measurement Is Expected To Show A Significant Percentage Of DVR Users Watch Ads During Playback

The New Commercial Measurement Of Both Live And DVR Viewing, Combined With Recent "Viewer Engagement" Research, Shows The Broadcast Networks' Advantage Over Cable

Nielsen's recently announced plan to measure commercial ratings will enhance the position of the broadcast networks in the advertising marketplace, particularly as a more viable advertising medium over cable, according to David Poltrack, Chief Research Officer, CBS Corporation and President, CBS VISION. Poltrack's findings were presented before the Television Critics Assn. in Pasadena, Calif. on July 17, in a presentation entitled "The New Advertising Model."

One of the chief reasons Poltrack cited for why the new commercial ratings will benefit the broadcast networks is that Nielsen's new measurement system shows that the broadcast networks retain their audiences through commercial breaks better than the cable networks do.

"We're confident that this new measurement will demonstrate the superiority of our medium over our competitors," said Poltrack. "Additionally, it will reassure advertisers of the value that the broadcast networks provide," said Poltrack.

Poltrack also noted in his presentation that Nielsen's tracking of DVR playback will now give the networks credit for viewers who watch commercials in playback mode, which is expected to show an increase in the number of viewers who watch ads. Prior to the availability of these numbers, it was impossible to quantify how many viewers skipped through the commercials when viewing programs outside of live viewing.

Additionally, Poltrack noted that IAG Research has recently begun to measure viewer engagement and the viewers' ability to recall advertisements that appear during shows they've watched. In a recent IAG report, nearly 75 percent of the broadcast network viewers meet the established criteria for an "engaged viewer" versus 60 percent of cable viewers. The results of this research therefore provide further credence to the advantages of broadcast television over cable.

Details of Poltrack's presentation include the following:


� Commercial ratings in primetime network television are only about 5% less than program ratings, a fact known by buyers and sellers since the 1980s.

� However, commercial ratings for cable networks are on average, 10% less than program ratings.

� Broadcast network's advantage over cable extends to other day parts, with daytime exhibiting the least amount of fall-off during commercials (-1% among adults 18-49 and adults 25-54).


� Playback adds viewing for most primetime programs, resulting in more viewing to programs that are recorded.

� 77% of all playback of primetime programming is from the broadcast networks versus just 23% for cable.

� DVR penetration is just now passing the 10% level.

� On a total day basis, only 10% of DVR viewing is in the playback mode versus 90% live as scheduled. The percentage increases to 18% for primetime viewing.

� New Nielsen data shows that 61% of primetime playback is on the same day the program is scheduled (with the 3 a.m. cutoff), alleviating advertiser fears that time sensitive advertising is seen as much as seven days later.

� 80% of all playback is within two days.

� 21% of those who skip commercials report recalling one or more commercials skipped.

� A DVR ad impact study confirmed that recall of commercials seen in fast forward mode are just slightly lower than recall of ads seen live, representing an unmeasured "bonus" audience for advertisers.


� IAG has recently begun measuring viewer engagement with primetime programs and recall of ads in those programs for all network and cable programming. Viewer engagement is defined by the viewer's ability to accurately recall several key points about a given program. Results of this qualitative audience measurement have added to the broadcast network advantage.

� Nearly 75% of broadcast network viewers meet the criterion of an engaged viewer versus 60% of cable viewers.

  [july 2006]  

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