ANA, Nielsen Testing Brand-Specific Ratings

At its TV conference in New York this morning, the Association of National Advertisers said it is testing the feasibility of so-called brand-specific ratings with The Nielsen company.

Three years ago, the industry agreed to use a new Nielsen rating system that measures average commercial minutes as the basis for buying national TV ads.

That system replaced a decades-old process that measured viewing to shows, not spots.

Since that time however, the ANA has been pressing for a more precise metric—ratings for individual spots, which the organization insists are what most advertisers really care about.

The ANA and Nielsen are working with AD-I.D., a company that develops identifying audio codes that can be embedded in programs and ads, in the feasibility tests.

Currently, Nielsen has no timetable for developing a system to measure individual spots. And of course buyers and sellers would have to agree to use the system before it is introduced as ratings currency.

And Nielsen would need to make changes to its system beyond putting codes in ads including upgrading its measurement technique to a second-by-second process in order to measure specific 15- and 30-second ads.

Still, Nielsen vice chairman Susan Whiting said, “this test has shown that we can develop the technical ability to produce ratings for specific commercials.”

And ANA president Bob Liodice praised the testing effort as well. “These tests are leaps in the right direction for our industry, and validate all of our work in the area of brand-specific commercial ratings,” he said.

Trials of additional types of audio codes will occur in the next phase of testing, the ANA said. Liodice encouraged marketers and agencies to participate to insure a successful outcome.