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.

If you liked this article you might like

Imax Spills the Popcorn

Imax Spills the Popcorn

Viacom Buying Atom

Viacom Buying Atom

Revenue Surges at Disney

Revenue Surges at Disney

News Corp. Earnings in Line

News Corp. Earnings in Line

Emmis Bid Collapses

Emmis Bid Collapses