DirecTV joins Nielsen family


In an effort to boost its ad sales, DirecTV Inc. will now track viewing on
ad-supported networks carried on its direct-broadcast satellite system.

DirecTV is partnering with Nielsen Media Research to measure ratings for its
11.5 million subscribers.

According to the company, DirecTV is the first cable or satellite operator to
have its audience tabulated by Nielsen.

DirecTV needs ratings data to compete with broadcast networks, national cable
networks and syndicators for national ad dollars, vice president of ad sales Kirk
Kopic said.

"When you walk into a major New York agency and you can’t talk about ratings,
some of them get it, some of them don’t," Kopic said. "Buyers have to show
clients performance, and they couldn’t do it with us."

DirecTV’s ad time is handled by Sony Pictures Television, which has been
repping DirecTV since 1999.

DirecTV’s ratings will "cluster" networks with like viewership, instead of
tracking individual networks, as with the national sample. So Lifetime Television and Food
Network fall into the women’s cluster, for instance, while Bloomberg Television
and Fox News Channel are in the news category.

DirecTV has been lobbying Nielsen to measure its audiences for nearly two

To accurately count DirecTV’s viewers, Nielsen needed to increase its
representation in DBS homes.

Previously, out of about 5,000 Nielsen homes, 200 were DirecTV subscribers,
Kopic said. That number is up to 500, which Kopic called "a reasonable
percentage" of DirecTV’s market share.