NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In 2007, after decades of lobbying by marketers, what had long been considered the holy grail of TV ad measurement seemed to have become a reality: Commercial ratings became the currency of the $70 billion national TV market, replacing 65 years of program ratings.
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Instead of measuring the number of people watching the programs and using that as a proxy for the total number of advertising viewers, the marketing world would finally find out how many people were actually watching each commercial. Or at least that was the general idea. As the 2008-2009 TV season gets under way, advertisers still are not exactly sure how their TV efforts are faring under the new currency. This is, in part, because last year's numbers were atypical, affected as they were by a broadcast business that was saturated with repeats of old shows, largely as a result of the writers strike.
For this paper Advertising Age conducted an exhaustive study into commercial ratings (a precise definition will come later) to ascertain whether the change worked out well for marketers, what challenges remain, and how commercial ratings have altered the business in ways both expected and unforeseen.