Alan Wurtzel and Jack Wakshlag stump for convergence measures advertisers don't care about

Categories: TV Ratings

Written By

October 25th, 2009

one-bourbon-one-scotch-one-beer

This is starting to remind me  of the classic George Thorogood tune "One Bourbon, One Scotch, One Beer"

Wanna tell you a story about the changing TV environment blues....

Network research chiefs are enamored with convergence measurement.  But they're not going to get their wish even if they get their convergence measurement.  What they're basically looking to do is sell different sets of advertisers all the potential  viewers -- even though all the viewers won't see the same ads.

We've said all along that all the bickering over Nielsen not having convergence measurements really is to mask the bigger issue: the advertisers do not want to pay for the thing they want measured.

Why the trade publications aren't focusing on the bigger issue is something I find extremely frustrating.  The people paying the bills -- the advertisers -- never seem to have a voice in the trade stories.  If I was a conspiracy theorist, I might chalk that up to their biggest advertisers being the networks.

But even the Nielsen owned Media Week doesn't really get into it!  Of course, their biggest advertisers are the networks too, and not to mention the networks are Nielsen's biggest customers so it has been an uncomfortable spot for Nielsen all around.  In the Media Week story they at least do mention things like the fact that online video carries far fewer ads -- which is an issue, but not an issue caused by measurement.  But it's more mentioned as a throw away.

Instead, they play kiss-kiss with the research chiefs at NBCU and Turner (Time Warner) who indeed are among Nielsen's biggest customers (and for five year, they were so nice, Lord they were lovey-dovey):

Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer at Turner Broadcasting System, said he'd like to see Nielsen roll out a system by summer 2010, in time for cable's new programming season. "We as much as anybody need a multi-platform measurement system," he said, adding that the plan was a "step in the right direction. Everything up to now is siloed."

[...]
"My question becomes, 'What are you really measuring?'" asked Wurtzel. "I don't know of any long-form video on the Internet that is literally the mirror image of what's on TV. You have to be able to measure the way it is out there and how people watch it."

[...]

"I'd rather get credit for some of it than none of it," countered Wakshlag. Even this small step, he noted, would count more viewers than networks would get credit for in the C3 ratings and, therefore, it's a help. The new system, he added, will spur more programmers to put "higher-quality" content online, probably adding more spots given that they'll have a metric to sell ads against.

I understand the desire to get credit for some of it, but it's wishful thinking I think. I  agree better ONLINE metrics are needed, and that might help sell more online ads, but that might be something of a chicken or egg problem, plus that's definitely a separate issue from convergence metrics.

But this notion that if an extra 500,000 adults 18-49 are watching The Closer online that you'll be able to sell those 500,000 or "some of it"  rather than none of it for those buying ads for the TV airing is folly.

She a-howlin' about the front rent, she'll be lucky to get any back rent, She ain't gonna get none of it!

And that's exactly what TBS, and NBCU are going to get from their online viewers when they try to sell the TV spots.

They ain't gonna get none of it.  At least not unless the ads airing online are the same ones airing on TV.  If that happens, convergence measurements make complete sense.  Short of that, there is no way the advertisers are going to pay for the extra viewers who will never see their ads!  Why would they?

And that's not a Nielsen problem.  That's an advertisers aren't stupid problem and no matter how much these guys talk up the stupid, I don't see the advertisers drinking that particularly stupid brand of Kool-aid.  So keep on blaming Nielsen and good luck getting any of those online viewers when you're selling your TV spots!


 
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