Nielsen to Track Commercials

Jan 11, 2007  •  Post A Comment

Nielsen Media Research is expected to announce new details of its plans to create ratings for the TV commercials in shows, including those seen by viewers using digital video recorders.

In addition to releasing average commercial ratings data for “live” viewing, the ratings company is expected to distribute data showing live plus one day of DVR use, live plus two days of DVR use and live plus three days of DVR use. Network executives estimate that more than 80 percent of delayed viewing occurs in those first three days.

Advertisers would prefer commercial ratings because they would count the number of people who see their messages, as opposed to the current system which measures how many people watch the shows.

This season advertising time was bought on the basis of live program ratings after ad buyers refused to include time-shifted shows in their calculations. Since then, the networks have been determined to receive payment for commercials seen on a delayed basis.

In an earlier version of its commercial ratings plan, requested by the broadcast networks and some ad buyers, Nielsen planned to offer the same streams as it does for its program ratings: live plus same day and live plus seven days.

No ad buyers are now willing to consider live plus seven days, and the networks threatened to pull out if there were no alternatives to live and live plus same day.

The four streams should allow the networks and buyers room to negotiate, based on figures from Nielsen. Nielsen does not plan to charge for its commercial ratings while clients try them out. But if it passes muster, the new service could create a big revenue increase for the company.

While Nielsen has been able to quickly generate average commercial minute ratings for the broadcast networks, it has had problems generating them for cable and syndication, prompting objections from executives in those industries.