This account is pending registration confirmation. Please click on the link within the confirmation email previously sent you to complete registration.
Need a new registration confirmation email? Click here
Stocks Under $10 with 50-100% upside potential - 14 days FREE!

Clock Ticking at Nielsen

After years of media industry debate about the effectiveness of ads on television, Nielsen Media Research will finally help provide some answers.

Nielsen, the company that measures TV audiences and, hence, network ratings, will now proffer up TV ratings for commercials. It used to only do so for TV shows, but come fall, will provide minute-by-minute data.

The initiative will be important to the big networks, including GE's (GE) NBC, News Corp.'s (NWS) Fox, CBS (CBS) and Disney's (DIS) ABC. Needless to say, it will also be watched closely by advertisers large and small who collectively pour billions dollars into television buys each year.

In providing commercial ratings, Nielsen could be opening up a Pandora's Box for either advertisers or the networks. The networks say the new ad ratings will show that TV is still the best medium to reach the masses and that viewership doesn't really drop off as much as advertisers say. Advertisers, in turn, believe results will show that they've been overpaying the networks when people are turning away and tuning out.

Media company stocks have not performed well in recent times. The possibility of advertiser defection from TV based on weak commercial ad ratings figures would be unwelcome at a time when this year's upfront sales were flat to down. Meanwhile, the Internet continues to emerge as a powerful competitor for eyeballs, especially coveted younger ones.

On the flip side, if the Nielsen data shows that folks don't channel surf as often as was previously thought, the news will be good for the networks, and advertisers will likely be forced to pony up more cash for spots, especially around big hits like American Idol.

Advertisers and networks have known for years that people use their remote controls to flip channels during commercials. Now both industries have larger challenges from emerging technologies including the DVR, which allows wholesale ad skipping.

1 of 2

Select the service that is right for you!

COMPARE ALL SERVICES
Action Alerts PLUS
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer and Stephanie Link actively manage a real portfolio and reveal their money management tactics while giving advanced notice before every trade.

Product Features:
  • $2.5+ million portfolio
  • Large-cap and dividend focus
  • Intraday trade alerts from Cramer
  • Weekly roundups
TheStreet Quant Ratings
Try it NOW
Only $49.95/yr

Access the tool that DOMINATES the Russell 2000 and the S&P 500.

Product Features:
  • Buy, hold, or sell recommendations for over 4,300 stocks
  • Unlimited research reports on your favorite stocks
  • A custom stock screener
  • Upgrade/downgrade alerts
Stocks Under $10
Try it NOW

David Peltier, uncovers low dollar stocks with extraordinary upside potential that are flying under Wall Street's radar.

Product Features:
  • Model portfolio
  • Stocks trading below $10
  • Intraday trade alerts
  • Weekly roundups
Dividend Stock Advisor
Try it NOW

Jim Cramer's protege, David Peltier, identifies the best of breed dividend stocks that will pay a reliable AND significant income stream.

Product Features:
  • Diversified model portfolio of dividend stocks
  • Alerts when market news affect the portfolio
  • Bi-weekly updates with exact steps to take - BUY, HOLD, SELL
Real Money Pro
Try it NOW

All of Real Money, plus 15 more of Wall Street's sharpest minds delivering actionable trading ideas, a comprehensive look at the market, and fundamental and technical analysis.

Product Features:
  • Real Money + Doug Kass Plus 15 more Wall Street Pros
  • Intraday commentary & news
  • Ultra-actionable trading ideas
Options Profits
Try it NOW

Our options trading pros provide daily market commentary and over 100 monthly option trading ideas and strategies to help you become a well-seasoned trader.

Product Features:
  • 100+ monthly options trading ideas
  • Actionable options commentary & news
  • Real-time trading community
  • Options TV
To begin commenting right away, you can log in below using your Disqus, Facebook, Twitter, OpenID or Yahoo login credentials. Alternatively, you can post a comment as a "guest" just by entering an email address. Your use of the commenting tool is subject to multiple terms of service/use and privacy policies - see here for more details.
Submit an article to us!
DOW 17,011.27 -28.22 -0.17%
S&P 500 1,988.64 -3.73 -0.19%
NASDAQ 4,534.4720 +2.3680 0.05%

Brokerage Partners

Rates from Bankrate.com

  • Mortgage
  • Credit Cards
  • Auto

Free Newsletters from TheStreet

My Subscriptions:

After the Bell

Before the Bell

Booyah! Newsletter

Midday Bell

TheStreet Top 10 Stories

Winners & Losers

Register for Newsletters
Top Rated Stocks Top Rated Funds Top Rated ETFs