Advertisers Track Commercial 'Flight'

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Five percent of the TV audience is lost when a program goes to a 30-second national commercial.

That's according to a joint ad agency/advertiser study released Thursday.

The study, which was overseen by a joint task force of the American Association of Advertising Agencies and the Association of National Advertisers, included several caveats.

The study did not cover DVR replay or viewing of local ads. Another caveat was that "rapid channel switching" might have been "too granular" to have made it into the results, which were based on Nielsen Media Research data.

Citing those pretty big caveats--DVR use is growing and swift surfing is almost a given--the task force said: "Analysis of ratings for programs versus commercials is a complex task that deserves much more investigation," which it plans to do.

The study was based on two months worth of Nielsen program data in 30-second increments for broadcast, cable and syndication.

The groups' goal is to improve the measurement of commercial viewing and thus the "marketing accountability" of their ad dollars.

From imbedded codes that help track ads to services that count the product placements in TV shows, advertisers are seeking better ways to gauge the effectiveness of marketing dollars spread over a growing array of media and facing a fragmenting audience.

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