People Meter Numbers for DirecTV

Jul 28, 2003  •  Post A Comment

DirecTV will get national People Meter numbers for the first time under a new deal with Nielsen Media Research.
The numbers from Nielsen’s national People Meter sample are expected to become a centerpiece of the DirecTV ad sales efforts by Sony Pictures Television, which has managed the direct broadcast satellite provider’s national ad inventory since 1999. The new national numbers will give advertisers and agencies the ability to identify the national viewing patterns of DirecTV’s approximately 11.5 million subs.
In a statement, Nielsen called the deal “historic” and SPT called it a “watershed moment.” What justifies the hyperbole is that this deal exploits for advertising sales purposes DBS’s “national footprint” advantage over cable, which touts itself primarily as a local medium.
One of DirecTV’s biggest cable rivals, Comcast, claims not to be worried.
“If we wanted to do what DirecTV is doing, we could do it in a heartbeat … and be twice the size,” said Jonathan Sims, VP research, Comcast Ad Sales.
With about 22 million subscribers, Comcast is the largest multiple system operator.
“First and foremost, we’re talking a local [cable] sell vs. sort of an unwired [satellite] network,” Mr. Sims said. “Right now, Comcast isn’t in the unwired network business. We sell national spot, of course, and local, and that is our business, and it has been a very, very handsome one for us.”
Nielsen’s DirecTV data will include quarter-hour-by-quarter-hour ratings information for each day of the week, as well as audience demographics for DirecTV’s eight general entertainment clusters and individual sports events. Nielsen and DirecTV also will co-create a special report that will be available monthly and distributed to all Nielsen-contracted agencies.
Separately, Management Science Associates, an independent third-party data provider, now will compile post-analyses of national media schedules purchased by DirecTV’s advertisers.