CBS Exec Wants Combined TV, Internet Ratings

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. -- Big video content producers need to come up with aggregate ratings that combine television viewing with online video consumption, says Patrick Keane, vice president and chief marketing officer for CBS Interactive, speaking Monday at MediaPost's OMMA Global conference in Hollywood. The combined rating would provide media buyers with a cross-platform option that's simpler and more detailed in terms of data, because of online metrics.

Using CBS as an example, Keane said the online video audience for one episode of "Jericho" boosted the show's TV ratings by almost a full point: from 4.2 to 5.1. While Keane made no mention of it, this extra audience is especially valuable for a show like "Jericho," which has struggled to build a larger audience. The show's hardcore fans saved the show from cancellation once, but it's hanging by a thread--and another ratings point may help.

Citing another example from CBS, Keane said that while the Grammys attracted 16.9 million TV viewers--down 15% from the previous year--it also generated 7.9 million online video streams and 4.9 million page views.

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Of course, it's a two-way street; TV programming also boosts online traffic. Keane said CBS Interactive closely tracks the relationship between shows and online behavior. Showing a chart that overlaid TV and online audiences, Keane said online traffic spiked in a fairly predictable way following certain kinds of programming, allowing CBS to refine its programming.

Most important, Keane added that the online activity didn't cannibalize the broadcast audience--meaning that advertisers can add to frequency with linked online campaigns.

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