The Case For Commercial TV Ratings

Ten years ago, Advertising Age published an editorial titled “TV Spots Need A Ratings System.” That editorial said: “Eighty-five percent of marketers are interested in commercial ratings for TV audience measurement, according to a survey released by the Association of National Advertisers.”

It also said: “The market needs a ratings system—from Nielsen, from someone—that accurately measures what matters.” And the editorial added: “Advertisers will know who’s watching ads and shows; agencies will need to create spots that measure up; networks will be able to demonstrate value … TV will be accountable and those who produce results will thrive.”

ANA has been speaking out on this issue for a decade now. Companies including Kantar Media, Rentrak, and TRA have introduced products that provide commercial ratings. But there is still so much more to do, and we continue to wait for Nielsen to deliver an appropriate solution.



Nielsen’s C3 was progress -- but that provides ratings for the average of all the commercials within a program and not ratings for individual commercials. Why settle for “averages” when you can have “specifics?”

Ratings for individual commercials would provide more granular data to help marketers make better decisions. Better creative decisions -- i.e., to identify weak or strong spots in a pool, and also to be a barometer of commercial wearout.

And better media decisions -- i.e., to indicate which networks, dayparts, or programs work best for a brand and also to optimize the mix of 30s and 15s.

Many things have indeed changed in our industry over the past ten years. There is a greater focus on data and ROI. Procurement is closely examining all costs. Marketing expenditures now must be even more accountable.

It seems to me that the potential value of commercial ratings is greater now than  it has ever been before. ANA encourages the industry -- particularly the research and media companies -- to heed the ongoing and persistent requests from marketers and deliver brand-specific commercial ratings.

1 comment about "The Case For Commercial TV Ratings".
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  1. Evan Goldfarb from Rentrak, March 19, 2014 at 11:14 a.m.

    Rentrak has been providing commercial ratings "Exact Commercial Ratings" for 3 years and is one of our most widely used services.

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