Writing Monthly Checks To CBS ABC, Fox, And NBC? When Do I Start?

Senior execs at Netflix must be rolling their eyes over the current state of digital video metrics: viewability levels, supposed standards and verification issues.

“Measurement? Who needs measurement?” I can hear them saying. Netflix execs know who’s watching its TV content; they don’t need Nielsen to tell them. And the company doesn’t need to tell others about its proprietary data.

Even better still: “Advertisers? Who needs advertisers?” Netflix doesn’t. Not when you have enough subscribers paying around $8 a month.

Traditional advertising-supported TV networks looked at the Netflix model and decide to hedge their bets by offering over-the-top digital video platforms of their own (though with some sort of advertising support).

But that picture is still cloudy. Martin Sorrell, CEO of WPP Group, is worried. In an earnings call, he said -- somewhat alarmingly --  that some WPP clients are rolling back their advertising commitments to online video because they can’t justify the investments based on current measurement.



That’s not good news. Could this snowball?

And then there is the even scarier consideration: The rise of “malvertising,” where just accessing an ad-supported digital content platform can harm consumers’ hardware/devices.

Sorrell added that the current three-second viewability standard is “pretty ludicrous.” WPP Group, which has equity stakes in Rentrak and comScore, hopes to lead the charge in changing that.

In the same earnings phone call, WPP wasn’t all that happy about traditional TV either. Irwin Gotlieb, chief executive officer of GroupM, WPP’s media company, said: "TV is being damaged in its perception by poor measurement."

TV programmers aren’t going to wait around for metric issues, potential lawsuits from fraudulent media deals, and other issues to resolve. If they can receive more of their revenues directly from consumers themselves, they’ll be happy with that.  And perhaps less -- or no advertising? Hmmm... just let me know where to send the check.

1 comment about "Writing Monthly Checks To CBS ABC, Fox, And NBC? When Do I Start?".
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  1. ida tarbell from s-t broadcasting, August 28, 2015 at 3:20 p.m.

    Except for the Nightly network news, I look at no television with advertising in it.  As for writing checks to the Big Four?  Not likely.  They're already collecting $2 billion a year each for not bothering to program prime time.  From Cable and Satellite customers that don't necessarily look at the Big Four anyway.  The old cable, satellite and network business models aren't working, the people who operate them have little idea how much of this viewing there is because it isn't measured.  Any new HD TV set over $300, and many costing less, will generally allow one to play almost any digital computer video file through a usb input in the back or side of the set.  Those USB inputs often work as well or better than a dvd player.  Or you can access mountains of old and even recent films directly online.  It's far more interesting to develop your own programming menu, rather than succumb to some maximum eyeballs programmer.  Its like opening your own restaurant rather than going to one where the meals are pre-programmed.

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