September 30, 2004

Nielsen to make TV commercial tracking available

Interesting news in a MediaPost MediaDailyNews article entitled Nielsen Finally Agrees To Commercial Ratings, Data Available In October '05:

Following years of pleading from Madison Avenue, Nielsen Media Research Monday quietly told its clients it would finally make TV commercial ratings available beginning in October 2005.

Good audience tracking is beneficial, yes, but most interesting is the comment from Kate Sirkin, Exec VP and global research director of Starcom MediaVest Group, "who has been among the most vociferous champions of the minute-by-minute data":

"As television continues to fragment, it will significantly change the value of a 30-second commercial," she said, adding that it has become imperative to evaluate the actual rating of commercials themselves.

Television has traditionally commanded large media buys; it's mightily expensive to advertise on television even though people do not watch TV, or a particular television program, in order to view commercials (and this is quite in addition to conceiving and producing the commercial in the first place).

This is quite the opposite from people visiting websites in order to read what they have to say or offer. Almost all web hosts offer raw logs (a fairly arcane tracking mechanism) if not more concise statistical packages. It appears that the TV folk are now asking for — and getting — the same. Although Nielsen apparently will be charging the big bucks for their more detailed results, it will be curious to see the results, if only from the outside.

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