Signs are trickling out that network executives will press advertisers to accept a new currency that covers more time-shifted viewing. The market now trades on ratings that take into account three days of commercial viewing (C3). Networks want to extend it to seven (C7).
Very logical from a sellers' perspective as DVR-enabled viewing escalates. But how do they get to yes? What can they offer buyers in exchange for accepting the C7 switch? Is there anything at all?
Several years back, networks were hungry to get credit for time-shifted viewing. Buyers accepted a currency taking that into account in exchange for going with a version of commercial ratings.
It was a grand compromise where each side benefited and sacrificed something. Maybe the networks have some idea how a swap could take place now satisfying both sides, but it’s hard to envision one that buyers would buy.
The buy-side seems to have all the leverage here. If people watch recorded shows four, seven and eight days out, buyers aren’t paying a cent for any commercial viewing that takes place. And, if that type of viewing only increases, there’s free stuff coming for years to come.
One possible trade-off would have networks offering to use a currency based on exact commercial ratings. No longer would advertisers pay based on an average, but only for how many people actually watched their particular spots.
But, that’s unlikely to be initiated. Neither side wants it because how much is charged is predicated so much on where ads are slotted and their creative strength. There may also be issues with the stability of what the ANA calls brand-specific ratings. And, monitoring such granular ratings takes a lot of work.
The grand compromise, which made a lot of sense several years ago, seems to have left advertisers with a leg up.