We are living in a time-shifted world – at least on TV – and networks are now counting DVR data in calculating what are the most popular shows. But advertisers are still not willing to pay for anything after the first three days:
DVRs and Streaming Prompt a Shift in the Top-Rated TV Shows – Bill Carter and Brian Stelter via NYTimes.com
Total popularity does not perfectly correlate with profitability, however, since the networks all agree to sell ad time based on a metric called “C3.” It measures the average viewing of the commercials within a show within three days of the first broadcast, so it excludes people who wait to watch Wednesday’s “Modern Family” until Sunday or Monday.
Still, advertisers are paying, happily so, for the three days that are counted.
“We do like viewing in the playback mode,” said Tim Spengler, the global chief executive of the media-buying firm Magna Global. “We’re finding that the viewers are more attentive. They are less distracted. They have picked a time when they have the opportunity for more engagement than they would have if their kids were bugging them or they had three things to do at once.”
Mr. Spengler said many advertisers, like fast food restaurants, movie companies and some retailers, do not want to pay for ads beyond three days because what they have offered might be out of date. But, he said, other advertisers recognize there is “some value” to the four additional days of viewing that are not counted by C3 — even among fast-forwarders, because they do see glimpses of messages here and there.
The networks would eventually like to sell ad time based on seven days of viewership, but most viewership happens in the three-day window; Paul Lee, the president of ABC Entertainment, said ABC is able to “capture about 93 percent” of the value of the “Modern Family” audience with the C3 ratings.
Ultimately, the long tail for shows – and ads – will stretch out past three days, and advertisers will be paying for what they get, although DVR data might prove to be less important than second screen data, since an ad going by on the TV has no impact on someone who is actively typing in a chat about the game he is watching.