C7? Not So Fast. What Will TV Marketers Want In Return?

Thinking about C7 this upfront? Only if the price is right. And don’t worry -- this isn’t about an industrywide change circa 2007.

TV network ad sellers continue to pursue efforts to get paid for all viewing -- no matter what platform, where or when. While digital/online/mobile advertising revenue is certainly in their plans, a bigger near-term goal means extending the C3 ratings -- average commercial ratings plus three days of time shifted viewing -- into a C7 metric.

But odds are this won’t mean a total revamping of the C3 TV advertising guaranteed rating system -- something virtually all national TV platforms and national TV buyers agreed to back for the 2007 TV upfront ad selling season.

For example, Linda Yaccarino, president of advertising sales for NBCUniversal, believes new upfront deals for the 2014-2015 TV season will be a mix of C3 and C7 deals. Other TV network sellers are thinking along the same lines.



Changes in TV advertising revenue from C3 to C7 could be as much as 4% for some networks-- where overall revenues coffers could grow to $300 million for the broadcast networks, $250 million for cable networks, and perhaps $100 million or so for U.S. syndication programming.

During the last two years we have heard from network executives including ABC and CBS, who have said they have quietly struck “some” C7 deals.

But more C7 than C3 -- or a complete wholesale change for this coming upfront market? Not so much. Clients such as movie studios and retailers won’t want to pay for TV ratings guaranteed over such a long time period -- not when many have short-term, near-term weekend promotion creative.

Network TV sellers might counter that many marketers could buy C7, with long-term brand issues to consider. Marketers would counter that say it comes down to price. Perhaps there might be incentives/discounts for doing C7 deals versus that of C3.

And then there is another approach. Many TV marketers and their media agencies would like to see individual rating per each commercial -- not the average rating for all the commercial minutes of each TV program that C3 delivers. Exact ratings for each commercial has been something Starcom MediaVest Group and other media agencies have pushed for over the years. In that regard, negotiation could then be like it was in 2007: give and take.

Back in 207, TV networks wanted marketers to pay for some time-shifting -- a growing activity; TV marketers wanted some commercial rating guarantees. And so they agreed to meet in between -- and C3 was born, something which was quickly adopted, virtually industry-wide.

Now, media buying executives might say: “Give us exact commercial ratings and we’ll give you seven days of time-shifting.”

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