C-3POh No! Broadcasters Agitate for Better Ratings Currency

Push to adopt C7 metric heats up as live ratings falter

While some prominent buyers have never been enthusiastic about the adoption of C3—as far back as October 2007, after the first C3 upfront had wrapped, Horizon Media founder and CEO Bill Koenigsberg charged that the new metric only served to artificially tighten the national TV market by reducing the pool of available GRPs—early advocates had suggested that the blended data stream was a compromise. Eventually, buyers said, a more granular, fine-tuned system would be adopted.

For all that, there remains a number of logistical problems that could very well hamper the implementation of C7. For one thing, it already takes Nielsen 21 days to generate a single week of C3 data; as such, would clients be looking at nearly two months of data crunching in order to get a look at their first week of C7 returns?

For the sake of argument, suppose that Nielsen isn’t able to radically streamline its reporting processes, at least not in the near term—would we as a result see the broadcasters take a much longer view in terms of deciding on renewals and/or cancelations? If so, what impact would that have on programming budgets and studio operations?

Despite the fact that broadcasters really seem to believe that a shift will prove worthwhile in the long run—NBC Broadcasting chairman Ted Harbert began beating the C7 drum at the Peacock’s May upfront presentation—clearly, there are some procedural issues to resolve before diving into a new currency.