What TV Metrics the Buyers Want

Ad Age Asks Top Buyers What They Need to Track What Consumers Buy

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NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- The TV marketplace has changed dramatically in the past two years, but the people who plunk down marketers' dollars expect more transformation ahead.

During last year's upfront sales period, many cable and broadcast networks put in place a new ratings currency, C3, that reflects viewership of commercial breaks -- not the programs they interrupt. It's all part of how increased usage of the web is pressing vendors of traditional media to become more accountable and more efficient. If a consumer-products giant can get a good sense of how many and what sorts of people are clicking on a web promotion, why shouldn't it press for something similar from TV?

Now new technology is set to make the TV into an interactive medium, thanks to the ongoing development of cable, satellite and Telco set-top boxes. As these once-innocuous doodads gain more ability to report what programs we watch and how we watch them, they also threaten to change the way media outlets and marketers buy and sell TV.

Below, several prominent media-buying executives tell Advertising Age about the metrics they'd like to see the industry adopt. If last year's most-used word was "engagement," this year's seems to be "granular." But both essentially are being used to mean: "Get me data that goes beyond reach to show me how consumers behave."
RINO SCANZONI
CHIEF INVESTMENT OFFICER AT WPP GROUP'S GROUP M
RINO SCANZONI
What's probably more important to me is that we start getting a heck of a lot more consumer information that is a bit more reliable in terms of product usage, product preference, that you can then tie to ratings information. That would actually make it smarter.

Right now, we have to marry that information from a lot of data standpoints, and Nielsen does have a lot of information that they collect, but they basically sell it more a la carte. ... I'd like to get more clear, better consumer information that's a bit more granular, better than just demographics and age and income and education. Those are all good, and we have that, but what's important is getting better information that can marry product choice, preference and usage to TV viewing. ...

The next big thing everybody is pushing for and we're out in front of is being able to measure across viewing platforms. ... Obviously, we can measure TV viewing, and we can get an idea of circulation online, but we can't marry the two. So if we are looking at a "Grey's Anatomy," are those people consuming it online, have they watched it on TV? How much is its reach? How much is it increasing frequency? We don't have that. That's going to be very important for online video to grow and to be accepted and to get much more advertiser support.
STEVE KALB
SENIOR VP-DIRECTOR OF BROADCAST AT INTERPUBLIC GROUP OF COS.' MULLEN
STEVE KALB
Methods need to go beyond measuring just eyeballs, so to speak, and need to get into the behavioral aspects. ... When you look at "engagement," some of the smaller shows have a higher [measure] than the network ones. ... You start getting a lot more-granular and a better understanding on how you invest the dollars accordingly, above the mass reach.
DONNA SPECIALE
PRESIDENT-INVESTMENT AND ACTIVATION AT PUBLICIS GROUPE'S MEDIAVEST USA
DONNA SPECIALE
The golden goose would be set-top-box data, which I think we are all looking for, because it will give us the granularity, or the accountability that TV needs. ... That data would also give us behavioral data, which is how we are really looking to start dissecting the TV consumer. From there, you know what MediaVest would really love to do is start getting to the heart of consumers' intent. ... When they do see something, what kind of action can we measure? ... Are they going to ask more questions? Do they want more information? Are they going to tell a friend about it? Will they purchase? Our golden egg is an intent from the consumer to do something at least when they see our advertising.
LARRY NOVENSTERN
EXEC VP-JOINT MANAGING DIRECTOR, PUBLICIS GROUPE'S NEWCAST@OPTIMEDIA
LARRY NOVENSTERN
Look, we're in the Stone Age now. We're letting 115 million homes be guided by 11,000, which I think in this day and age is ridiculous. At some point, we are going to take the set-top boxes or DVR info, and at least we have the millions at that point instead of 11,000. Will some of the data be skewed upscale? Yeah. Is there a way of figuring out how to make it more reliable? Maybe downscale it somehow. If a company can come up with some kind of metric using DVR data that somehow makes it more reliable across the U.S., you would think they'd make a fortune.
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