JWT, ADLINK TEAM TO MEASURE CABLE: AGENCY TRIES SYSTEM IN LA THAT IT COULD MOVE TO OTHER MARKETS

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J. Walter Thompson USA has partnered with Adlink to measure demographics of cable TV network viewers in Los Angeles, dropping Nielsen Media Research's much-maligned local diary data.

With Nielsen dragging its feet in rolling out local people meters, JWT decided to offer its clients what JWT says is more accurate rating information with which to negotiate local buys.

BASED ON PEOPLE-METER DATA

The demographic data JWT now will use in that city "come from a modeling technique based on current and historical national people-meter data" from Nielsen, said David Marans, JWT's senior partner-director of media research.

He declined to give more specific information.

If successful, JWT plans to use the same technique for cable buys in other markets, said an executive familiar with the agency.

"Even Nielsen acknowledges the shortcomings of the diary" system, Mr. Marans said. "By relying on more reliable ratings data, we are in a position to offer our clients a wider array of program choices under the Adlink umbrella."

In Los Angeles, he added, more than one-third of all TV viewing is of cable networks.

Modeling, although controversial because it does not give exact data for the particular viewer group being targeted, can be valuable, Mr. Marans said.

"Get me good, accurate, passive household measurements, which Nielsen generally provides, and I'll model it from there," said Mr. Marans.

Key to the demographic modeling process JWT and Adlink will use is the belief that the typical viewer of a sporting event on ESPN, or of a movie on Lifetime Television, is the same in Baton Rouge, La., as in Santa Monica, Calif.

Adlink, which provides satellite delivery of spots for the southern California market, will offer JWT a package of local cable spots for agency clients.

Nielsen's diary method is widely believed to understate cable viewing. Local TV stations generally benefit from this, and generally are loath to fund the launch

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