Mr. Simm: A large bearing on this is the objective of the client or the advertiser. For the quantitatively oriented advertiser, there's no question that while optimizers don't yet represent the ideal that Jean is talking about, we're talking about a step ahead of what's been provided until now. For the advertiser that's more qualitative in nature and has a different set of communication objectives, optimizers also have significant value -- though probably less than those that are for a quantitative advertiser.
AA: Jean brought up the question of Nielsen and what Nielsen provides. Are we at a point now where the research isn't as good as the tools?
Mr. Gotlieb: The research has never been as good as the tools, which is why it took so long to get optimizers to run at all in the U.S. But, what we now have from Nielsen, what Nielsen will issue to the outside world, is data on the mid-minute of the quarter hour.
So, it's not quite as bad, Jean, as a random minute in an hour. We know which minute it is. There is a formula that's used to calculate the mid-minute, and yes, it may be a commercial minute or it may be a program minute, but as long as you don't get too literal in the interpretation of it and you allow for averaging to take place over some period of time, you're going to get reasonably accurate data.
Mr. Jacobs: I don't think there's much wrong with your research. I think there's something wrong with the way in which your research is controlled and run.
Just take the U.K as an example -- and this model works in most European countries. We run a system called Joint Industry Surveys.
In the U.K., the Nielsen equivalent study, which is called BAR, is actually owned by advertisers, agencies and TV companies and decisions are made jointly between the three parties.
Now, we had a situation quite a few years back where the Nielsen equivalent in the U.K., which is AGB, the research collector, was basically also refusing to release information although it was minute-by-minute information. The BAR contract was basically changed to make it an essential part of that contract -- that the information, the raw information -- had to be made available to any bureau that wanted to set up in business to buy it.
What that meant was we had an explosion of bureaus -- some of which succeeded, some of which failed -- and an explosion of programs because, of course, everyone had to go out into the market and prove that the way they were manipulating all this data was better than the next guy, and so that drove innovation and it drove competition and it was good.
So it seems to me there's nothing wrong with your research. You've got people meters, you've got a reasonably large sample. But, you've got networks that control it and own it and therefore it's presumably not in their interests to move to a situation where you're buying minute-by-minute.
I would imagine -- administratively -- it must be rather difficult to cope with all that and I would imagine they wouldn't be too enthusiastic about that data being available to everybody.
AA: And the agencies?
Mr. Jacobs: I'm not even sure, by the way, although it might be heresy to say so, that the agencies are all that keen either, because it must be quite a big administrative task for them as well.
So there's this kind of relationship that exists, I think, where it doesn't appear to be in anyone's great interest to have all this data flowing around. At the moment, you are dealing with one minute in a quarter hour. If you had