That’s the sound I think you’ll be hearing in network TV boardrooms across the country for months and years to come…
I’m an internet advertising sales person, and you know what’s the hardest thing to sell? Reporting. Data. Trackability of the advertising medium.
Why? Because it’s damning to sell people advertising that’s as trackable (that’s totally a double-edged sword) as online advertising. Until very recently, TV advertisers had no idea if their advertising worked as hard as the money they were paying for it said it should work. TV advertising is sold based on ‘reach’ or ‘audience’ but the problem with that is that it’s all assumed reach or assumed audience.
Until Tivo started selling the aggregated data about advertising viewership, no one really knew if their TV advertising was being watched, or ‘consumed’ as the popular saying goes… (the key phrase in that sentence is Unitl Tivo…
So, today, I read this article at Business Week.
Indeed, just like clickable ads, TiVo’s initial data reveal some trends that ad agencies and networks might prefer to bury. For one, a program’s rating — the number of people saying they watched a TV show at a given time — appears to have an inverse relationship with the proportion of ads viewed. On April 11, 2002, ABC’s popular TV drama The Practice drew a TiVo rating of 8.9, meaning 8.9% of TiVo owners watched the show live or recorded it and watched it later. But those viewers watched just 30% of the ads shown. Meanwhile, quiz show The Weakest Link , drew a rating of 0.9, but viewers watched 78% of the commercials. TV news magazine 60 Minutes got only a 2.2 rating, but its viewers sat through 73% of the ads.
So, guess what?
TV advertising really isn’t all it’s cracked up to be, and that means Jennifer Anniston and the rest of the Friends crew might just have been the last TV program to get paid as much as they all get paid in the past few years…
Oh, and by the way, I just cancelled my subscription to DirectTV (which I’ve talked about before) and haven’t watched a TV program in a full week… I’m sure I’ll buy basic cable or something comparable come the fall, but this summer is all about enjoying the summer, not the TV.