CNN to Guarantee ‘Out-of-Home’ Viewership

By kevin 

NY Mag’s Daily Intel takes a look at Mediaweek’s conversation earlier this week with CNN EVP and COO of ad sales Greg D’Alba, in which D’Alba explains that CNN will now be guaranteeing out-of-home viewers to advertisers, a metric that measures viewing of a network in bars, restaurants, hotels and aiports. The measurement — Arbitron’s ARB-TV — is not accredited by the Media Ratings Council and is not commonly used by networks or agencies:

“We feel so strongly about the methodology we’re willing to guarantee it. That’s a first for us. What percentage of lift we’ll guarantee will depend on what the marketplace will absorb,” D’Alba said. “I think that most people you talk to would assume that we would have a substantial out-of-home viewership. I think this is a way to effectively quantify that … I think the industry is going that way. We need to get a better grip on what people are consuming outside of the home.” According to [managing partner at GroupM media investment Lyle Schwartz], though, the industry isn’t quite ready yet. “I’m not really sure at this point in time that it will be a major component of the negotiations,” he said. “The current metric is the majority of the current audience, and what deals are based on.”

The move comes amid a flurry of stories about CNN’s poor performance in primetime. The network finished in third place among the cable news networks in the prime demo in 2009.

Pointing to out-of-home viewers is not a new strategy. CNBC made a similar case a few years ago, even at the top.