Group M Pushing for Local Ad-Viewing Measurement

By Andrew Gauthier 

Broadcasting & Cable

The way local TV airtime is bought and sold could be headed for a radical overhaul as part of an effort by Group M to bring the recession ravaged TV category out of the dark ages. Group M’s Chief Investment Officer Rino Scanzoni has been talking to other agency chiefs, including Jon Muzsynski at Starcom, as well as the Television Bureau of Advertising (TVB), The Nielsen Co. and the major station groups to explore new ways to measure viewing on a local level that would bear closer relation to the commercial ratings currency used to buy national TV.

The debate has taken on new urgency, partly because of the economy and partly because of a recent decision by Nielsen to phase out live ratings in local markets in favor of live-plus-same-day ratings. Local TV is still bought on the basis of program ratings, while national TV advertisers pay for the number of people viewing the commercial pods.


Nielsen isn’t able to provide commercial ratings locally because the ad breaks are not aligned across the country and the viewing levels are smaller and therefore much more difficult for Nielsen to capture. Media agencies have been stuck with the less accurate program ratings instead. More…