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TheStreet Open House

Clock Ticking at Nielsen

The Wall Street Journal, which Tuesday published a wide-ranging piece on the development, says in its report that the new ad ratings will measure the average viewership for all the national commercial minutes that run during a program, but won't track individual commercials.

So the new service from Nielsen might not be the panacea all are looking for.

Jordan Breslow, director of national broadcast research at Mediacom, a large media buying agency, credits Nielsen with a number of their newer measurement initiatives, but says he's "not a big fan" of the new commercial ratings. Breslow says that second-by-second ratings would really capture the data that advertisers are looking for. The reason: Minute-by-minute ratings can include seconds of network programming, promotions along with advertising all measured together.

In other words, if an episode of your favorite show runs eight seconds across a minute, the viewership for the eight seconds will be lumped in the tabulation for the commercial ratings -- part of the reason, perhaps, that the networks are all so keen on the new venture. A new currency, but one that may face stern resistance from some quarters until the figures are broken down to a further degree.

Meanwhile, no one has figured out how to measure the number of times people press the mute button on commercials, or how frequently they visit the WC.

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