The compromised C3 metric and the slower-burning fuse of C7 have done next to nothing to offset the ravages of commercial avoidance, offering about as much protection from ratings erosion as an umbrella provides in the shadow of an earthbound boulder.
Non-Nielsen guarantees may overshadow the desire for C7 currency.
A handful of broadcast shows are getting as many DVR viewers as live ones. That means the networks will beat the drum even harder for C7 deals come spring.
Other media agencies aren’t likely to follow in GroupM’s footsteps by striking broad agreements to use C7 in upfront deals this year, according to people familiar with the upfront market. Other agencies are still hesitant to strike broad-based agreements for C7 that would apply to a majority of their clients.
Just days before Fox’s upfront TV presentation — as well as other TV networks — 21st Century Fox executives continue to make a case for the Fox network to get C7-based upfront deals from TV advertisers.
In 2013, viewers changed the way they watched television. In 2014, buyers and researchers will catch up, changing the currency for buys and adding online ratings.
This was one of the points CBS chief Leslie Moonves made to investors Monday to promote his favorite message: that all’s well for CBS and broadcasting. He’s been lobbying to have advertisers pay for the viewers who see commercial spots on DVRs as much as seven days after they first air, up from today’s three days. And that’s “coming right around the corner, and that will be good for us,” he said at a wide-ranging Q&A session at the Deutsche Bank Media, Internet and Telecom conference.
With new ways to watch TV shows, CBS now says it isn’t always the oldest-skewing TV network when it comes to its programming. Nina Tassler, president of CBS Entertainment, says the industry should expand the traditional TV ratings metric it sells to advertisers beyond the C3 metric — commercial ratings plus three days time-shifted viewing.
While the senior TV and media executives have been mulling over changing industry-standard TV currency to C7 — commercial ratings plus seven days of time shifting programming — one network, ABC, has quietly been making its own C7 deals with TV advertisers over the past 18 months across a number of marketers in multiple categories, according to Debbie Richman, ABC’s SVP of primetime ad sales.
Bernstein Research’s Todd Juenger says changing from the C3 to C7 ratings metric would just change the proportion of sales that go to broadcast vs cable, meaning it “would be largely a wash” for Big Media companies that have broadcast and cable networks. The exception is CBS, which collects relatively little from cable ads.
Network executives feel day-after ratings hurt their image because they don’t take into account DVR-juiced viewing that happens in the following days. They want the focus to shift to their numbers that take into account, say, a week’s worth of time-shifted viewing. It will never happen. No network will dare drop out of the night-after publicity game. Makes no sense.
Signs are trickling out that network executives will press advertisers to accept a new currency that covers more time-shifted viewing. The market now trades on ratings that take into account three days of commercial viewing (C3). Networks want to extend it to seven (C7). Very logical from a sellers’ perspective as DVR-enabled viewing escalates. But how do they get to yes? What can they offer buyers in exchange for accepting the C7 switch?
During their respective earning calls In the space of a week, both Walt Disney Co. president-CEO Bob Iger and CBS Corp. president/CEO Les Moonves talked about looking for ways to get paid for all TV network viewing through metrics that would measure more time-shifted viewing, which could increase measures of program viewership by 30% to 40% during a week.
Thanks largely to NBC’s Ted Harbert, networks may push for a currency change bringing more rating points for them to sell in a DVR-expanding landscape. In media-buying argot, he wants to go from C3 as the principal negotiating metric to C7. Yet, if the switch were to happen tomorrow, how much more money would NBC and its brethren collect? Maybe less than expected.
Are commercial-specific TV ratings the way to go in the future? Not according to Group M global CEO Irwin Gotlieb, who used part of his time on stage at the Advertising Research Foundation’s measurement conference Tuesday to dismiss the idea as impractical. He called it a step that could potentially undermine the national TV ratings system.
It won’t happen this upfront, but Ted Harbert, the chairman of NBC Broadcasting, moved the ball down field Monday on what could become a major battle on Madison Avenue: whether to shift to C7 ratings. Harbert suggested a rise in time-shifted viewing means networks are undercompensated with the current ratings system that drives the national marketplace. “It’s time to consider a move to a C7 metric,” Harbert said at the NBC upfront presentation.