Why TV Networks Want To Move From C3 To C7 Ratings
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 aboutlooking 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.
Right now networks do get to monetize some of that time-shifting viewing. C3 ratings -- the average commercial minute ratings plus three day of time-shifted viewing -- is the currency through which all national TV networks get paid from advertisers. This metric started up in spring of 2007 just before that season's upfront advertising market.
But C3 isn't enough for many TV networks. There's still other viewing that goes un-monetized -- in days four, five, six and seven after a show's initial airing. Research analysts say live plus seven days accounts for 90% of all viewing.
Moonves said -- rightly so -- that industry observers should not focus on live airing plus same-day time-shifted ratings. But TV ratings are released each day, becoming fodder for the consumer and business press. And though those daily numbers aren't the currency by which media executives make their decisions, many still analyze this data anyway.
There's not enough awarerness of C3 ratings, since Nielsen only releases C3 numbers every two weeks or so and they aren't easily accessible by the mainstream press, or regularly published.
<>Despite TV executive's cries for more accountability, national TV advertisers aren't necessarily interested in extending C3 to C7 ratings. Better to leap ahead to the next phrase of measurement to behavioral or contextual metrics, including addressable and interactive messaging, something that will show a more exacting return on their media investment ROI.
Perhaps Messrs. Iger and Moonves are setting the table for next year's TV upfront process. Extending C3 ratings to C7 ratings is only a short-term step for TV sellers. But, in the short-term, it can mean additional money gained -- especially as fast-forwarding of commercials continues. Additionally, TV sellers too would like to include all digital TV viewing in ratings, which Nielsen is working on.
TV networks executives are also restless, consistently looking down the barrel of a fractionalizing media gun -- while digital platforms still lag behind traditional TV in terms of scale -- and, most important, competitive advertising dollars.