Wednesday, November 29, 2006

Nielsen Gingerly Steps Closer To Measuring Ad Viewership

Everyone is freaked out about Nielsen's plans to give a rating for ads the same way they rate TV shows. They're now looking to launch it officially early in 2007. Instead of just giving an audience number for "Heroes," they'll tell advertisers exactly how many people watch a particular ad airing during a show, taking into account whether people surf channels during ads, tape the show on their DVR and fast-forward through them and so on. It's going to be a seismic change in TV ratings, since DVRs are becoming ubiquitous and so many people -- like me -- completely change their viewing habits and rarely watch "live" TV and even less rarely watch an ad. Expect live programming like sports and "American Idol" to become even more valuable. Nielsen will also try to capture the entire viewing experience, covering viewership on computers, cell phones, and so on. But will they be able to measure when a commercial is on but you've left the room to get a drink or brush your teeth?

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