Upfront Central: TV Ad Sales Execs Slam Digital Measurement

Fox's Nesvig defends TV's metrics; Discovery's Abruzzese says Hulu model doesn't work
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Updated 4:20 PM ET

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To marketers who argue that
TV needs to provide more Internet-like metrics, Fox Broadcasting ad sales chief
Jon Nesvig countered, "Digital measurement is a mess."

Speaking on a panel at the
MediaPost Outfront conference, Nesvig likened digital measurement to the Pentagon's
laughable PowerPoint slide illustrating the complexity of the war in Afghanistan, as
reported in The New York Times
April 27.

"There is such information
overload. We need some fast decision-making, or we're going to get bogged down,"
said Nesvig adding that TV is the best way for clients to build brands while
suggesting that combining TV with digital could be even more effective for
marketers.

"The digital model isn't
working," said Joe Abruzzese, Discovery Communications president of ad sales, referring specifically to the free, ad-supported model exemplified by Hulu, the NBC Universal-News Corp.-Disney joint venture.
"Unless it's getting you more ratings points, you are losing your money."

The panel also discussed the
extent to which TV ad loads should move to online video. In order to gain
ratings credit, or C3, from measurement company Nielsen, media companies must
run the exact same ad load online as they do on TV. The CW is planning to test the
same ad load for online video broadcasts as it does on TV. 

Linda Yaccarino, executive VP
and COO of Turner Entertainment ad sales, noted that without the revenue that
can be derived from monetizing online video there could be no deals for the
likes of Conan O'Brien and NCAA basketball, two properties just signed by
Turner. "The full load is the only model that works," she said.

During an audience Q&A,
CBS' chief research officer, David Poltrack, asked the panel -- which also included
MediaVest chief Donna Speciale; Universal McCann Co-Executive VP Dani Benowitz and
Comcast Networks ad sales chief Dave Cassaro -- whether marketers were
allocating more money to TV advertising than other marketing avenues.

"I would say, yes," responded
Speciale, adding that 2009 should be seen as an anomaly.

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