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Electronic Media Ratings
Electronic Media Ratings
Turning Audiences Into Dollars and Sense

Explains the processes by which viewership of broadcast and cable programs is defined and calculated, and how these figures are used by the industry to sell advertising time and judge whether or not programming is successful.


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authored-by Karen Buzzard on 6/5/2019, 4:10:56 PM

excerpt Early sponsers simply wanted sponsor identification, while projectable ratings and CPM theory turned ratings into measures of mass circulation and target audiences. Now once again the audience stands to be redefined as only those viewers who watch the desired programs (commercials) and who actually purchase the advertised product. Will programming now be geared only to this group? 91 on 6/5/2019, 4:10:56 PM

excerpt The fulcrum of broadcast power shifted from advertisers to networks in the late 1950s, partly because of the quiz show scandals. (Quiz shows produced by advertisers were discovered to be coaching contestants to bring back audience favorites and boost ratings). Another reason for the shift was the growing cost of advertising. Networks took greater control over programming, presumably in order to police it more closely, but also because they wanted to parcel out time in dinner increments, giving them, in effect, more product to sell. This revolution was called multiple sponsorship, as shows were carved up and sold to the advertisers by spot. This new sales method meant that breed a new breed of advertisers entered TV who could not previously afford it. They sold food, drink and chewing gum, and other low cost items purchased by an impulse. The impulse advertiser soon become a dominant force in TV through spot purchases. 4 on 6/5/2019, 4:19:06 PM

excerpt With this system, broadcasters could sell to a smaller advertiser who could not afford an entire show. Through the process of evolution, there developed the modern *drop-in* commercial: short, self-contained, ready to be included in any program (or between programs). Nielsen's Cost Per Thousand (CPM) theory tied it all together neatly and made it possible to purchase, not air time, not even commercial time, but a particular audience. Time is now sold with a guarantee that the commercial will be seen by a certain number of people and a certain demographic makeup. If the show exceeds the guarantee, the advertiser gets a free bonus, but if postshow ratings reveal it did not, the advertiser receives *make goods*, free time on another show. The advertiser can compute precisely what it will cost to advertise a product. 4 on 6/5/2019, 4:24:48 PM

excerpt Nielsen's ratings were projectable because they were based on a representative sample. 6 on 6/5/2019, 4:51:43 PM

excerpt When an advertiser or her agent wishes to buy commercial time on a network, she contacts one of the 25-35 account executives in the network sales department and submits and "avails" request, a list of times during which the advertiser would like to run commercials. Many product manufacturers employ advertising agencies to design the commercial and place the order. Some businesses have in-house advertising departments. The avails request lists the *flight dates*, when the advertising is to be run, the dayparts requested, the demographic target, GRPs, and budget, Nielsen is the only service that surveys network TV, so all buys must be based on its estimates. 47 on 6/9/2019, 3:16:42 PM

excerpt A station in a normal quarter may change its rates once a week or in a top market three times a week. 52 on 6/9/2019, 3:19:33 PM

note This book includes the only account of the network sales process that I've found so far. Also a very good section on the dynamics of local TV marketplace. on 6/9/2019, 3:21:16 PM

cites Television marketing on 6/9/2019, 3:27:27 PM

cites The Networks' New Advertising Dance on 6/9/2019, 3:28:34 PM

cites 9780240808727 on 6/9/2019, 3:30:18 PM

cites 978-0-240-80872-7 on 6/9/2019, 3:30:41 PM

cites Electronic Media Management on 6/9/2019, 3:31:19 PM

cites Prime-time television on 6/9/2019, 3:34:40 PM

references Regardless of accuracy, ratings are the currency by which audiences are identified and sold. As long as everyone uses more or less the same numbers, the system works. For this reason, the industry has been unwilling for the most part, to support competing services, since uniformity is as important as accuracy. 44 on 6/10/2019, 6:00:25 AM

excerpt Gross ratings points (GRP) The simple total of television of radio ratings during two or more time periods or for two or more programs. Normally this sum should be taken only of ratings with the same base. Gross ratings points represent the size of a gross audience expressed as a percentage of the base ued in developing yhe particular ratings included in the gross total. Thus, multiplying gross ratings points by that base yields a gross audience figure. 105 on 6/10/2019, 6:04:11 AM

tag-as Media buying on 6/10/2019, 6:07:54 AM

excerpt Another important step for Nielsen was the introduction of the *storage instantaneous audimeter* in the early 1970s. The meter was hooked to Nielsen's computers by telephone lines, making data collection much faster and permitting reports within 48 hours. Although data collection was faster, netwrok ratings still required an extra day because of the necessity of verifying affiliate line-ups and possible preemptions. In 1986 Nielsen further automated the station line-ups procedure by developing its *automated measurement of lineups* (AMOL). AMOL uses digital coding of all network programs transmitted in the vertical blanking intervals of the TV picture. By placing a meter in every market, Nielsen can determine whether a program is broadcast in that market. It permits the service to know immediately what stations carry each network program, further improving speed and accuracy. 59 on 6/10/2019, 11:07:22 AM

excerpt For many years Nielsen defined program viewing as 5 minutes or more tuned into the program. The thought was that viewing less than 5 minutes was a vote against the program. In 1975, because of the influence of remote controls, the definition was changed, and all programs were reported to the nearest minute of actual viewing. This means that advertisers can determine almost instantaneously the size of the commercial audience. The *average minute rating* is now considered the standard for network viewing. 59 on 6/10/2019, 11:10:10 AM