The potential to measure online video using the C3 metric could drive advertiser interest in the "TV Everywhere" initiative, Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes said Wednesday.
Time Warner has been a leader in building interest by programmers and operators in offering people free access to TV episodes online, if those individuals can prove they also pay an operator for TV service.
Nielsen said last week it is developing a system to produce a C3 rating for the online streaming of a show. It would then add that figure to a show's TV performance and get a combined, single C3 rating for the two platforms.
Nielsen is aiming for a 2011 launch date. C3 covers commercial viewing over a three-day period and is the dominant currency in the national TV market.
Bewkes suggested that the added ratings from online viewing would yield more ad dollars for networks. "The economic model stays and grows," he said at an investor event. Networks bent on asking cable and satellite operators for payment to offer their shows on the Web via "TV Everywhere" are misguided, he believes. "They're not the ones creating any expense to provide that convenience."
One challenge that "TV Everywhere" may face is a "putting-the-genie-back-in-the-bottle" construct as some consumers may balk at having to go through extra steps to access programming online that has been an easy process before.
There is some irony in Time Warner pushing a plan that could curtail online TV viewing. Its TNT and TBS networks have been aggressive in making full episodes of shows, such as "The Closer" and "My Boys," available online gratis.
Now, the two channels are participating in a "TV Everywhere"-type trial run by Comcast and expected to be a part of others.
"Customers love it," Bewkes said -- referring to trials, one of which included shows from Time Warner's HBO.
Separately, Bewkes said the company's cable programming portfolio faces a "challenging and difficult" advertising environment for Cartoon Network and other kids' programming.