If it seems like we write this same post a couple of times a year, it’s because CBS seems to bring out its PR assets on that schedule to publicly lobby the advertising community to begin paying for broadcast primetime advertising based on something other than the age and gender demo ratings that have been the norm for close to 40 years.
Here’s the crux of CBS’s current ad sales dilemma (via Ad Age)
Mr. Poltrack acknowledged that age in particular hasn’t been favorable for CBS. Indeed, in the week ended March 13, for example, CBS nearly matched Fox for overall average viewership in prime-time, trailing by only 10,000 people at 7.97 to 7.96 million, according to Nielsen data reported by TVBytheNumbers.com. But Fox blew past CBS in ratings among viewers aged 18 to 49, with an average 3.4 rating to CBS’ 2.1.
Typically there’s a new twist to each of these CBS lobbying efforts, and this one’s no different. This time it’s not just “You should pay us for every viewer” or “You should pay us for older viewers because times, they are a changin'”.
Instead, the latest pitch is that purchase behavior after viewing advertising does not correlate well with age and gender demos (what those knucklehead advertisers have been using for 40 years!), but instead segmentation of viewers by “behavior, motivation, programming preferences and psychographics” is the new, new thing. Plenty more to read at Ad Age if you’re interested.
Someday CBS may be successful in changing the advertiser’s minds on how to pay for TV advertising, and then we’ll change our editorial emphasis and re-tune our predictive methods.
Until that day arrives, I won’t be debating why things are the way they are, I’ll leave that to our commenters.