Nielsen To Begin Measuring How Many People Aren't Watching Commercials

from the bring-back-the-bud-bowl dept

The point of the Nielsen ratings has always been advertising: the more people that watch a show, the higher its ratings, and the more valuable its advertising slots are. The only problem is that the ratings only track how many people watch the show as a whole, not how many watch the ads — something that can be a valuable distinction for advertisers, and has helped hasten their move away from TV ads to other platforms that offer more compelling and more trackable ad opportunities. Now, Nielsen says it will begin delivering more useful information to advertisers: the number of viewers actually watching ads. Since it will account for channel-surfing during ad breaks and even people going to the bathroom or kitchen, the company says, the new figures are expected to drive ad rates down and further fuel the move away from the standard TV ad to media more fitting today’s consumer habits. But they’ll also reinforce the need for those advertisers who do stick to TV commercials to make better ads that people will actually pay attention to. Again, the message here isn’t that viewers are skipping out on their part of the bargain by not watching ads, but rather that the industry needs to undertake some wholesale changes to make their messages more efficient.

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Comments on “Nielsen To Begin Measuring How Many People Aren't Watching Commercials”

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Rich by name, Rich by nature. says:

Brilliant? What?

So wait, they’re gonna give info like if we go to the bathroom or to the kitchen to get a snack? Am I the only one wondering how they’re gonna pull that off?

Honestly I don’t want ads cause their mostly boring, and quite repetitive. However if they’re actually good they do a qualified job in holding the consumers focus.

A great example? The Snickers commercials. “Happy peanuts soaring over chocolate-covered mountain tops and waterfalls of caramel. Prancing nougat in the middle sings a song of satisfaction to the world.” Now that’s a quality ad.

Brad Eleven (profile) says:


After that dude at ABC said he wanted to force us to watch commercials (I used to just leave the room) on our DVRs, I noticed that I only watch commercial adverts when:

1. they’re interesting/entertaining. I must have watched that AVIS ad with the three suits lip-syncing to Lumbajac 100 times on my TiVo.

2. they’re advertising something that I’m actually interested in.

3. they’re sponsoring a particularly great presentation. During the Psych pilot, I was so enthralled, I forgot to fast-forward. OK, I wasn’t actually *watching* the ads, but they were playing.

So, hey, you stupid, pampered, out-of-touch executives. I know you’d like to think your $#!+ don’t stink, but lean a little bit closer, see, your programming really smells like poo-poo-poo…

I suppose that TV execs have developed the same relationship that politicians have to taxation: They see it only as revenue, without considering the value they return for it. That is, they feel entitled.

The good news is that interrupted entitlement is only good for lip service. Now, interrupted livelihood (or the perception thereof) is enough for any citizen to risk life, limb, and/or property in order to preserve “our way of life.”

Isn’t it cool when pols say that, and you know they really mean “our way of life in these elected/appointed offices”? So cool it makes me shiver.

donald says:

perhaps TV producers could make changes as well

TV producers could innovate with this new info as well. currently most people change channels or leave the room because they know the commercials take up a certain chunk of time. If certain shows change that up a bit, they might find more retention. for example, you could have a popular show have fewer total commericals, so that each commercial break only last 30 seconds to a minute. because they’re so short, people are less likely to do something else instead of watch it. Then they can charge a premium for those slots.

GB-PVR User... says:

What about my home brew PVR?

I have HTPC running GB-PVR ( its a free media center front end that can be EASILY configured to skip commercials.

I don’t typically watch a show when it airs “live” so my GB-PVR records the show, analyzes it and cuts out all the commercials for me. All automatically!!!

Measure that Nielson!

Limerat says:

Re: Congress Involvement

Yeah,I’ve heard that too…I find it really hard to imagine that they could pull that off..Making it a crime just to skip channels? How absurd! George Orwell must be spinning in his grave!

I’ve also read that they are going to make it impossible for you to channel surf when a commercial cascade appears.

To say I resent the way they are trying to force people to bow to their rules is an understatement.

And yes,commercials are usually stupid,insulting,boring and about items I really don’t give a sparrow fart about.

Add to that,the legenth of each one and the amount piled together that we are expected to watch and be inspired by…Gimmie a break.

For the most part, I never watch them. I do like the Snickers and M& M candy commercials and the latest Mac Vs. PC and some of Intel’s ads,but for the most part, ads are a waste of time.

One day,I was in a Dr’s office and a pill man came in.

He was pushing his latest product and wanted some pamphlets to be placed in the office that said:”Love your bones.”

He went on to explain that patients would see the pamphlet and wonder what it meant and read about the drug and ask the Dr. for it.

In his dreams…

Book Pusher says:

Inovate or die

There’s a little book (and by little I mean short) called “Who Moved My Cheese” that I think these media types should read. They might actually figure out that nobody is entitled to anything and that if they don’t continuously inovate, they’ll just be replaced by companies who do.

ie. Stop making comercials in the same old boring way, use more product placement in the show and do what donald suggested, making 30 second long commercial slots.

Raekwon says:

Can't Wait

With the innovation of “Digital TV”, “TiVo”, and computers on the rise, it’s only a matter of time before all television viewing is recorded, documented, and regulated. Mark my words, someday you will be required to “Watch” a specific number of commercials before being allowed to view your program. It’s already been stated that thier view is this, “If you’re not watching commercials, you’re essentially stealing tv.” Really? I am? Perhaps I don’t enjoy having your marketing team dangling luxourious unattainable items infront of me. I pay for my television service, I should get to choose what programs I watch, and skip the commercials if I so desire, unless they of course, want to make cable free?

Topher3105 (profile) says:

What Bargain?

First, commercials existed because people were getting over the air television signals for free. Like with Radio stations, commercials were a way to subsidize the transmission and development of content to put on the air.

Today, most people pay for cable or sattelite. Why should we pay $80+ a month and still be forced to watch commercials.

Somewhere along the way, radio and TV separated. You can still get free radio, but put up with the ads, or you can subscribe to satellite radio, and get it ad free.

Where is my subscription based ad-free televison?

In any regards, I think they have this all wrong. There has never been any guarantee that the commercial that airs is being watched. People always could either change channles, mute the TV, leave the room or turn the TV off for a few minutes. All that will result from this kind of “rating” system is that Advertisers will for more obnoxiouis and in your face advertising mechanisms, like forcing you NOT to fast forward your PVR recordings, or pop up ads during regular television broadcasts.

Advertising is a billion dollar industry, and I think this is an industry soley created by advertising agencies. Does McDonald’s really need to advertise? Do you need tampon or diaper commercials? Do you need car commercials? I mean, we are inidated with advertising with products we either already readily buy in massive quantities, will buy regardless of the advertising, or are so brand fixated on particular products that no amount of advertising will take us away from them.

In fact, some of the most successful “brands” are things like no-name or store brands, people people buy them because its the cheapest. You can advertise Tide all you want, but when the no-name or store brand is $4 cheaper per bottle, who cares.

It is time for the advertising industry to accept the fact that consumers need a break. Rather then trying to figure out more ways to inidate us with advertising, why not realize that you have had us hooked for years now and advertising has become redundant and in many cases, ineffective.

If I need to buy toilete paper, I get whats on sale, I don’t care what any commercial full of kittens have to say. I don’t wipe my ass with kittens.

themusicgod1 (user link) says:

re:Brilliant? What? by Rich by name, Rich by natur

That’s because you are in the Snickers[tm] target-market. That commercial was more or less tailor-made for you, just like 99% of the rest of commercials out there were made to reach out to someone who isn’t very much like you at all. If I were to watch that commercial, I’d probably want to bash my head against the wall, but that’s OK, since I’m not who they are trying to sell to.

greg says:

why see the ads?

because they work. Everybody denies being influenced by ads. Nobody goes into a store and says “I’m here to get the 10 cents off because Rush Limbaugh said to mention his name”. As a person who used to write ad copy for radio, I promise that ads work, ads influence purchasing decisions, and over the decades that ads have appeared on TV it is a scientifically proven statistical fact. Not every ad works on every person. Look at the huge success of names like NASCAR, Oprah, and FOX. Watch any nascar race and then tell me advertising doesnt work. If you dont want to watch ads on your tivo, then get rid of it and buy one that allows FF. Money talks! Remember, a DVD-RAM can do most anything the PVR can without restrictions but with less features. You know it’s a big country out there and there really are millions of people who watch ads and respond to them. We all are to some extent.

Wizard Prang (user link) says:

Re: Why pay to watch ads?

Most of us pay for our TV entertainment. And yet TV execs get their panties in a wad because they believe that we MUST watch the ads. Not on my dime.

The $13/month I pay TiVo is worth the time saved not having to watch ads.

Note to big entertainment. I am your customer. I am your paycheck. Fear me, respect me and give me what I want. Or insist on your “rights” as a content provider… and watch me walk away with my dollars. Your choice.

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