Television advertising rates

It is my understanding that the model for charging for television advertising rates is still unchanged, meaning that the higher the neilsen ratings for a particular program at a particular time slot will command a much higher advertising rate by the networks that air that particular program.

But over the last 2-3 years DVR penetration (the % of people that regularly watch programs recorded earlier) is up to almost 50% now from 20% a few years ago. This doesn’t even account for people that just watch programming online via Hulu, Netflix, or other streaming outlets, yet the neilsen ratings now include people that watch programs that were DVR’d.

I’m pretty sure that most people are like me, that when watching a program that I recorded, I fast forward through the commercials…that’s one of the great benefits of watching it later…my timing, my schedule, and shorter due to taking out the commercials.

Other than when watching live sporting events, I hardly ever watch a television commercial. Given that, I would expect that the advertising rates for live sporting events would be the highest rates an advertiser should expect to pay for, and with the biggest payoff, but other than the Super Bowl, I doubt that is the case.

Also, I’m surprised that advertisers haven’t tried to take advantage of specifically developing commercials that would be more eye catching played in high speed on your DVR. If while I was fast forwarding through a commercial, and I saw an ad that wasn’t just a blur as I sped through it, it would probably have an impact upon me. This would require the actual commercial to have some sort of imaging that appeared extremely slow on the screen in real time, but would be more visible in 4x or 6x speed as you fast forward it.

Advertising rates are determined by a number of factors other than just viewership. Age and income are two of the most important. Some advertisers pay a premium for male viewers, others for females, etc. That, incidentally, is one of the reasons the Super Bowl can charge so much for commercials. It’s one of the rare events that a) appeal across age, sex, income and other audience subsets and b) people really want to see live as it happens.

The networks and producers are attempting alternative methods to deliver ads that can’t be bypassed. Product placement within the actual programming is the big one, as well as on-screen product logos and “Presented by” sponsorships (which actually harken back to the earliest days of commercial programming.)

I have no cite but I heard many years ago that the Bartles and Jaymes ads from the '80s were done the way they were done so they would stand out while fast-forwarded. They mostly just showed two old guys sitting on a porch and not moving around a lot.

I’ve actually encountered ads that display normally if watched at normal speed. However, if you fast forward through them you see the steady display of a large logo and slogan- neither visible if you watch the ad at normal speed.