HIS GOAL: HELP INDUSTRY DEVELOP A BETTER TV RATINGS SYSTEM: ALLEN BANKS

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Allen banks says he thinks the TV ratings system is "archaic" and he'd like to see it change. According to Mr. Banks, 58, the diaries used to record program viewership could be greatly improved.

"It's difficult to get a handle on who is watching what," says Mr. Banks, exec VP-executive media director at Saatchi & Saatchi, New York, adding that the Nielson diary system can often have wrong or incomplete data.

DO AWAY WITH SWEEPS

He also would like to "do away with sweeps."

"Stations have found a way to misrepresent the average viewing during the year," says Mr. Banks.

He notes that stations often show the best programs, the most extensive, investigative news pieces and increase promotional efforts to get viewers to tune during sweeps.

"They're just nullifying the value of all that great programming," he says.

Mr. Banks' goal is to get "extended measurement not just 16 weeks a year, but throughout the year. My interest is really in helping to make a contribution to this industry -- to get the information we need."

Mr. Banks' Saatchi responsibilities include overseeing strategic planning and execution of more than $2.3 billion of advertising time and space. He works closely with Saatchi's media buying arm Zenith Media, New York. Also president of Saatchi's syndication company, the Program Exchange, he's a member of Saatchi's board.

But with more than 34 years of marketing and media experience, he's more interested in aspects of the industry as a whole.

IMPROVING THE INDUSTRY

"I'm interested in seeing this industry change. We're dealing with issues that should have been solved 50 years ago," says Mr. Banks, who sits on the four-member executive committee of the Nielson Customer Alliance, a group working to solve rating measurement problems.

"It's easy to dump on Nielson [Media Research]," says Mr. Banks, "but the bigger issue is to work with them to make it better for all of us."

Although he has a packed schedule, he still finds the time to listen to telemarketers' calls at night.

"I'm curious about how they present. I want to give them an opportunity [to speak] and hear how the pitch goes," says Mr. Banks.

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