Live Ratings Kill Network Ad Yield, Hundreds Of Millions Sacrificed

The author states that their editorial is “based on conversations”, but numbers are being put against DVR/PVR delayed viewing and losses of advertising revenue.

This isn’t a new exposé on “how PVRs kill advertising’s revenue base”. It’s a look at how the increase in Nielsen figures are not being counted, and accounted for, in advertising sales.

To date, delayed viewing from digital video recorders is contributing another tenth of a Nielsen rating point to each of the Big 3 network’s prime-time ratings, which buyers estimate could be worth as much as $86 million per network over the course of the new TV season. When the impact of other broadcast network dayparts, cable and syndication are added into the equation, the total impact of the live-only decision could be worth upwards of half a billion dollars in sacrificed advertising revenues.

Yes, it could be worth that much. Probably. Perhaps. If there were consensus:

In the upfront, networks acceded to buyers’ demands that ratings incorporating DVR viewing (“live plus same day” and “live plus seven day”) should not be used as currency. Working under the impression that DVR viewers are rabid commercial-skippers, buyers insisted that negotiations should be based only on “live” figures. ABC ad sales chief Mike Shaw put up a fight; he first insisted on a “live plus seven” deal. Then he pushed for “live plus same day.” But a lack of consensus among all network sales staff seems to have led to the capitulation.

It’s clear to see that the old observation of DVR-users’ habits lives on in high-level network negotiations. The argument is perhaps a double-edged sword; the use and misuse of the information becomes part of the power play. That is, if the networks are using the “.1” bonus ratings to drive their sales team, then they need to convince the advertisers of the added benefit.

Inversely, if the advertisers don’t want to pay for the zapped ads’ eyeballs, they they should consider revising the blanket statement that DVRs kill all advertising’s effectiveness. They could push for better measurement of the behaviours that lead to zapped ads, and better access to interactive advertising platforms: and negotiate on the whole-picture of the audience.

Admarketpilot eBay TV-Auction System

In what feels like a great use of unforeseen use cases by eBay themselves for eBay Innovation, a old type of marketplace via a new market system is emerging. is driving solicitation and pitching closer together in a wholly-online, mostly-anonymised way.

Advertising Age MediaWorks News describes the system:

EBay is developing two trading mechanisms that will serve both buyer and seller. The first is a “buyer-driven format” that can be used to solicit offers from sellers on pitch requests from identified advertisers with specific budgets. A marketer can set a beginning and end date for the trade, much like an eBay seller would. It can also restrict the number of potential sellers to avoid drawing, say, 60 cable networks to a pitch that might only be appropriate for a few.The identities of the bidders on the marketer’s budget would be known only by the marketer. The accepted bid would be posted so each bidder could see what the final price was.

A second format being discussed is one driven by the sellers. The available inventory would be posted and buyers would bid on the package.

Notwithstanding that this neatly carves out an entire substrate of off-the-books and over-a-beer deals, it at once makes transparent a whole ecology of the advertising industry that is often obscured. Indeed, the relationship between buying-and-selling and the actual market itself may become a lot easier to understand for the newcomer and outsider alike…..myself included.

I’d be very interested in taking part, if they accept applications for Asia-Pacific, but I’m unsure where my clients’ interests lie most strongly: on the buy, or sell, side of the equation.

Revver to TV with revvernue

Revver’s new (ad)venture with real, actual, broadcast television has taken user-centric media content closer to a sustainable revenue model. On the blog (layout edited for readability):

Here’s how it works: If you’ve opted in to the Revver broadcast channel, you might be selected by the fine folks at FameTV to have your video broadcast on FameTV.

Here’s where you make money: Every time a viewer votes on their favorite video via SMS, the viewer is charged a fee (if you voted for Taylor Hicks, you’ve done the same thing). Revver gets a portion of the revenue that that SMS vote generates. We split that revenue with you, 50/50, no surprises there.

You still own your content, you can still share it with whoever you want, you are still in control.

TechCrunch sees that there’s a large schism between the mass market and the minor markets, possibly resulting in low revenues initially.

But at least Revver has put their producer-friendly ethos down in digital ink, and hopefully they’re also ready for the critique.

There’s a lot of room to innovate in the broadcaster-producer-marketer revenue share model, and the SMS back-channel might grab some attention from the youth(ful) upwardly mobile audience.

The phenomenon of unforeseen use cases

When there’s a new technology about in my sphere, I end up building demonstrations, proofs-of-concept and miniature laboratories to allow people to hands-on explore.

Oftentimes, people will interpret that the concept as they see it requires their input. Even more often, senior company types will think for a nanosecond and decide that a deterministic approach is the best way to nip all this potential in the bud, and to make concrete products, services or brands that can be written up in one-page bulletins.

I jump in at this point, and attempt to evangelise the phenomenon of unforeseen use cases, whereby the platform or toolset is designed, from the gound up, to be adaptable and flexible.

Probably speaking too quickly, and even too loudly, I posit that the unknown and unforeseen usages of a set of resources could be more valuable and more widely embraced than the straight-up-and-down description of This Is How It Works and the even more buttoned-down This Is All You Can Do With This.

James Yu at Shoutblog put forward a similar view:

Many companies have met this phenomenon of unforeseen use cases by leaving their system as open to expression as possible. One of the best examples is Flickr, which allows for many creative uses via tagging, albums, and an easy-to-use open API. They never stand in the way of creative uses of their site–in fact, it’s encouraged.

Social web applications should never restrict users to doing one thing one way. Freedom of expression is paramount, and organic growth rules supreme. Successful companies out their [sic] will know how to channel this to their advantage.

Perhaps “paramount” and “supreme” are a little emotionally-driven for me, but working within or around “the two-dot-oh” phenomenon requires organisations to recognise and embrace the remix culture.

At the beginning of the year, Yahoo! wrote up a fantastic piece: ostensibly on “Graded Browser Support”, it provided me material to remix Nate Koechley’s words into:

The concepts of graceful degradation and progressive enhancement are often applied to describe media support strategies. Indeed, they are closely related approaches to the engineering of “fault tolerance”.These two concepts influence decision-making about consumer support. Because they reflect different priorities, they frame the support discussion differently.

Graceful degradation prioritizes presentation, and permits less well-endowed networks or consumption methods to receive less (and give less to the user). Progressive enhancement puts content at the center, and allows most networks and boxes to receive more (and show more to the user).

While close in meaning, progressive enhancement is a healthier and more forward-looking approach. Progressive enhancement is a core concept of Graded Platform Support.

Thus for my new-media approaches, the clever balance amongst

[a]n appropriate support strategy allows every user to consume as much visual and interactive richness as their environment can support. This approach—commonly referred to as progressive enhancement — builds a rich experience on top of an accessible core, without compromising that core. [Koechley]


[…] what a lot of people don’t realize is that intended use cases in Web 2.0 may be flipped upside down by your users. In most cases, this is a good thing. [Yu]

will provide larger, higher-quality experiences for the entire spectrum of platform, not just the one-page-statement use cases.

Vista to drive PC upgrades. If you have any money left over afterwards.

At least now we know how many South Pacific Pesos (aka Australian Dollars) we will have to part with in order to have an Ultimate ™ experience.

Kelly Mills tells me that Vista Ultimate is to cost AUD$751:

Australian IT – Vista to drive PC upgrades (Kelly Mills, OCTOBER 10, 2006)

And Domayne franchisee Gary Wheelhouse would quite like the attendant income from hardware (fast enough to run all the visual decorations):

“There is good pent-up demand for Vista, which will be coupled with hardware sales.”

Vista Ultimate (RC1, soon to be RC2) runs nicely under Parallels on my MacBook Pro, and that’s where it will stay: in a window, always at hand, yet quittable at a keystroke. The internet guru Frank Arrigo was also kind enough to pass on the current beta of Office 2007.

The Ribbon interface neither excited nor disappointed me, but the first thing I turned off was personalized [sic] menus. They are the bane of my existance when using Windows, and I always turn them off as quickly as possible.

Vista Ultimate Media CentreAccess 2007Word 2007

Screenshots open in a layer (via Lightbox 2).