In presentations to ad agency executives in preparation for next year’s upfront, Bruce Lefkowitz, executive VP of ad sales for Fox Cable Entertainment Networks, is presenting a formula that builds on engagement measures from Nielsen Media Research and other sources to form an Engagement Ingredients Index for his networks, FX and National Geographic Channel.
He then adds consumer behavioral data that align with product consumption to get a measure of advertising effectiveness.
Mr. Lefkowitz said he is building on the work done by Court TV, which negotiated the first ad buy that guaranteed engagement. While Fox Cable is not offering guarantees, Mr. Lefkowitz said he thought he was taking the discussion one step further.
At this point, it could be that commercial ratings turn out to be an even bigger issue than engagement during the next upfront. But Mr. Lefkowitz points out that commercial ratings are a key part of engagement, and are included in Fox Cable’s formula. (He cautioned that including it in his presentation does not constitute an endorsement of the way Nielsen Media Research is now calculating commercial ratings.)
Fox Cable combines commercial ratings with indexes for length of tune and commercial clutter, then factors in the Myers Engagement Index and an ad receptivity measure from Beta Research to get the Engagement Ingredients Index for FX. A slightly different combination of research sources are used for NatGeo.
Both networks do well against their competition. FX trails USA and TNT but beats TBS, Spike, A&E, MTV, VH1 and E! in engagement.
When behavior is factored in to create an index for effectiveness, NatGeo finishes second it its competitive set behind Scripps’ HGTV.
Mr. Lefkowitz said the figures are designed to encourage media buyers to go beyond traditional measures. “The bottom line is budgets aren’t going to grow that much, so how do you spend your dollar more effectively and efficiently,” he said. “There are measurable metrics out there that can help.”
“Anything that makes progress in moving away from a purely exposure-based metric towards one that speaks to actual awareness and/or recall is a step in the right direction,” said MindShare President and Co-Executive Director of Broadcast Jason Maltby, one media buyer who’s seen the presentation. “It ain’t perfect but it’s something.”