News Briefs: Four A’s Study: Ratings Drop During Many Ads

Sep 5, 2005  •  Post A Comment

A new study may provide more ammunition for advertisers that complain that television commercials are overpriced. The report, released last week by the American Association of Advertising Agencies, or Four A’s, found that on average ratings for national commercials across all dayparts are 5.6 percent lower than ratings for the programs in which they appear. In some cases, the gap between program and commercial ratings is much larger. During one unidentified show, viewership among adults dropped by 78 percent when commercials came on. The Four A’s analysis of viewership found commercials gained or lost viewers at different rates depending on a number of factors, including the demographic, the program, the network and the daypart. Cable networks showed big differences in the number of viewers their commercials lost. In prime time the broadcast networks were tightly bunched, ranging from 6.6 percent drops on ABC and The WB to a 5.6 percent drop on NBC. Syndicated Network Television Association President Mitch Burg, a former media buyer, said the figures are likely to be used by buyers in future negotiations. “If a buyer was looking at two media properties with 4 ratings, and one did a much better job of holding viewers, I’d put that into my consideration as I made the buys,” he said. However, in most cases the drop wasn’t nearly as bad as the average and in a few cases viewership even went up. One veteran ad sales executive said it’s not necessary to sound the alarm. “So much has been written about the death of the 30-second commercial. This seems to go against that philosophy,” the exec said. The report analyzed Nielsen Media Research viewership data broken down into 30-second increments from March 29-April 25, 2004, and Nov. 15-Dec. 12, 2004. It does not take into consideration digital video recorder or VCR usage.

Icahn May Be Eyeing TW Stock Purchase

In a move that could help force change at media giant Time Warner, billionaire investor Carl Icahn may be preparing to make a tender offer to buy up to 10 percent of Time Warner’s outstanding shares. Mr. Icahn reportedly has been holding talks with unidentified investors about joining the shareholder team formed last month by Mr. Icahn to push the company to take several steps he thinks would boost shareholder value.

CBS Slates Chevy Impala Promotion

CBS will digitally insert the Chevrolet Impala logo into five of its shows as part of a premiere week promotion, the network said. When viewers spot the logo on the air during its shows, they can go to CBS.com to enter a sweepstakes to win a Chevrolet Impala. The five CBS shows that will feature the logo are “How I Met Your Mother,” “NCIS,” “Yes, Dear,” “CSI” and “Threshold.”

NATAS Announces News Emmy Presenters

ABC News’ Elizabeth Vargas, CBS News’ Bob Schieffer, Telemundo’s Jose Diaz-Balart, CNN’s Christiane Amanpour and PBS’s Charlie Rose are among the news anchors and correspondents who will present awards at the 26th Annual News and Documentary Emmys on Sept. 19 in New York. In addition, Peter Jennings, who personified ABC News for more than two decades until his death Aug. 7, will “be remembered during the event,” according to an announcement last week by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, which sponsors the ceremony. Sheila Nevins, the president of HBO Documentary and Family, will receive the first lifetime achievement award for a documentarian. Dan Rather, who returned to full-time correspondent status after stepping down in March after 24 years as anchor of “CBS Evening News,” also will receive a special tribute.

Moonves Frustrated With CBS News Division

CBS Chairman Leslie Moonves has said to colleagues that CBS News President Andrew Heyward may not be able to lead the “revolution” Mr. Moonves thinks is essential for CBS News to attract more and younger viewers to the third-place “CBS Evening News,” according to an article that was slated to appear in last weekend’s New York Times Sunday Magazine. The article pointed out that Mr. Moonves “genuinely likes and respects [Mr.] Heyward,” but has been frustrated with the news division. “We have to break the mold,” Mr. Moonves is quoted as having said to author Lynn Hirschberg. She writes that Mr. Moonves has pushed Mr. Heyward this summer to “be less conservative in his thinking” as he shoots prototypes for a revamped “Evening News.” CBS News declined to comment.