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Comcast Pushes VOD Reruns Into the C3 Window

New ODCR system will sync up ad loads across on-demand programming

Photo: Getty Images

In yet another move by the cable industry to measure the kind of viewing that has driven success at Netflix and Hulu, Comcast and Nielsen have joined forces to measure video on demand content across the former's TV Everywhere services—including old episodes. The pact has been in the works for a while, but today was formally announced.

Traditionally, three days' worth of advertisements for DVRed shows are included in Nielsen's standard viewing measurement, C3. But this new tool would keep track of fast-forward disabled ad deliveries for VOD that comes in via a cable provider—in this case Comcast, but potentially much more of the industry, if the tool works and appears attractive to buyers. It's called ODCR, or On-Demand Campaign Ratings, joining Online Campaign Ratings (OCR), Cross-Campaign Ratings (XCR) among the company's new and upcoming tools for capturing viewer data. There's also a mobile tool in the works.

The real point of interest here is the presence of Comcast. "This becomes a new way for programmers to monetize not just the most recent episode, but every episode, which has pretty big implications," the company's svp of video services, Mark Strauss, told Multichannel News earlier today. Comcast owns a big enough slice of the TV content pie through holding NBCUniversal that the company could single-handedly goose demand among buyers for this kind of inventory.

But that raises a particularly thorny question: given that content owners like Comcast are touting the tool as a way to monetize viewers they've always known were there (but weren't getting credit for), how eager will advertisers, who end up having to actually pay out based on metrics like ODCR, be to add a whole new subset of users who haven't been part of negotiations up to this point? More pointedly, do VOD viewers watch, say, Breaking Bad the same binge-y way Netflix viewers do?

The answers to both questions may take a few months to work out, and as the 2014 upfront season approaches, expect ODCR to be a hot topic.

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