Saturday, November 04, 2006

Ratings For Commercials? Not Yet

Nielsen has decided to delay a new rating system for ads -- they were planning to give ratings for the commercials, rather than the TV shows, which would revolutionize TV ad spending. Live events like sports and "American Idol" would be more valuable than ever, while shows that get DVR'd a lot -- like "24" -- might take a hit. This article says everyone but cable networks are excited, but actually I'd think everyone is panicked over what it might mean. When Billboard changed its charts to SoundScan -- a system that measured actual CDs sold rather than their old method of calling stores and asking for a list of top sellers -- it meant massive upheavals as genres like country and gospel suddenly hit the Top 10 and new albums regularly debuted at #1. The book industry is also desperate to keep accurate book sales under wraps -- they're worried if people knew exactly how few books needed to be sold to hit the best seller list that people would be deflated and the industry would suffer. (In the UK, the bestseller lists provide the exact # of copies sold for each title each week, as well as a running total.) With the proliferation of DVRs and Tivo, I think the number of ads that are actually watched has fallen dramatically in the last two years and will only go lower.

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