Cox Communications and Turner Broadcasting System have announced the successful measurement of advertising exposure in video-on-demand (VOD) content located within Cox’s MyPrimetime on demand service. In a trial effort, Turner confirmed that time-shifted VOD viewing of the Turner programs could be counted toward Nielsen C+3 ratings, an industry measure of how many viewers are exposed to commercials within three days of the original airing of a program. The on demand programming was available free to select Cox digital cable customers with fast-forward functionality disabled, the day after the shows’ first run on linear broadcast.
"One of the major challenges faced by programmers and distributors in offering consumers greater convenience in time-shifting content has been preserving the advertising business model that enables high-quality programming to be produced in the first place," said Bob Wilson, SVP of programming for Cox. "Our work with Turner demonstrates that consumers will view on demand content, with advertising, and that this exposure can be measured."
Turner and Cox began testing customer response to on demand programming with full ad load and fast-forward functionality disabled in December 2008. The challenge addressed by the Cox/Turner collaboration was to meet the same measurement standards with on demand content as is applied to broadcast viewing. Cox and Turner were able to preserve the Nielsen watermark, an inaudible cue tone that is detected by Nielsen’s People Meters to measure advertising exposure, and to deliver the content in exactly the same form as linear broadcast. One of the most important findings in the trial is that, even with fast-forward functionality disabled, viewers still chose to view entire shows nearly 100 percent of the time, compared to online views which typically represent significantly less than entire shows.
The trial was Cox and Turner’s first involving the measurement of on demand content and non-skippable commercials.