Thursday, July 13, 2006

TV Ratings For Commercials Coming Soon

This fall, Nielsen will start revealing the ratings not just of the hit TV shows, but of the ads that appear on them. That is, they'll parse the difference between a show's rating and the rating that its commercials got. At first, it won't mean much -- networks are so freaked out, Nielsen will only provide an average rating for, say, all commercials on "Desperate Housewives" without breaking it down minute by minute. But advertisers already know that the first commercial "pods" (the group of ads between the actual show) do better than the ads appearing toward the end -- especially the ones after the show is over and before the next one begins. Advertisers are already moaning it isn't enough and ultimately they'll get second by second ratings so they can see exactly who is watching what ads.

That's gonna rock the world of TV and send even more money flowing onto the Internet, where advertisers often pay only when people click on their ads and pay attention to what they're selling. Why? Because a steadily growing number of TV viewers almost NEVER watch ads. Thanks to Tivo and DVRs and VCRs and Slingbox and video on demand and iTunes downloads of the latest episode of "Lost" and on and on -- quite simply, for a growing number of viewers like me, commercials are something we zip past without even thinking. Maybe I'll go back to watch a movie trailer or something that catches my eye. That happens maybe once a week -- and I watch a LOT of TV. Nowadays, I find it irritating to watch "live" TV -- I simply won't do it except for something like the World Cup or some other "live" event. So sports programming and maybe the "American Idol" finale will flourish. But 95% of TV will suffer. People may love their shows; but they don't love their ads and increasingly there is no reason for them to watch the darn things.


priv8pete said...

Thanks for the props to Slingbox, but unfortunately it doesn't help me to avoid ads. It does provide place-shifting technology so I can watch everything on TV on my computer, but I'd still need to access a DVR or Tivo to skip the ads. Anyway, the moral of my post is "Ads suck, but Slingbox still rocks!"

Michael in New York said...

Really? What a bummer. I just assumed in playback you'd be able to fastforward or rewind. You have to replay shows in real time?

priv8pete said...

Slingbox just "place-shifts" the signal. So, on my computer (at home or work or "on holiday" as you Brits say) I can watch whatever is on TV, with about an 8 second delay. If you hook it directly into your cable box, then you can access your DVR and skip ads, but again you have to deal with the delay in the signal reaching that device to be received. Still, I love it. One time cost to watch the Yanks anywhere for free? How can you beat that?