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Disney Concedes to Advertisers, Won’t Charge for DVR Viewers

June 6, 2006

vcmike

This year's "upfronts" for TV advertising have been a watershed not just because of the networks' emphatic embrace of the digital platforms.

Equally important, I believe, is the industry's acceptance that TiVo usage, and more specifically the fact viewers watching TV recorded on a DVR invariably skip most ads, is an important turning point.

In short, this is the year when the DVR ad skipping phenomenon has actually been recognized by programmers and advertisers alike.

The major news on this front is that Disney/ABC has agreed to negotiate advertising packages for "live only," in other words, only charging advertisers for viewers who watch the programming live, not charging for DVR viewers who, presumably skip all ads and therefore are worthless from an advertiser's perspective.

Here is an excerpt from an AdAge article breaking the news:

"Disney Cos.' ABC issued a statement today confirming the network was prepared to negotiate with agencies using the existing ratings metric of "live only," meaning it will only charge marketers for viewers who watch programs when they are aired (and not for viewers who watch later using a digital video recorder). ABC formally steps down from its stance to negotiate using 'live-plus' ratings.The issue of what metric to base this year's upfront negotiations on has held up deals. Media agencies were united in their stand that they would only pay for live viewers, while the broadcast networks wanted to charge for those viewers who watched programs either later that same day (live plus same day) or later that week (live plus seven days). But late last week, ABC began to soften its stance, offering to negotiate with buyers on 'live plus same day.'"

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