CBS's Moonves Stakes Hopes on Commercial Ratings

12 January 2007

NEW YORK: CBS ceo Leslie Moonves has come out fighting against criticism of his US television network's ratings decline this season, insisting that in future marketers will also have to pay for time-shifted and online viewers.

He told an analysts' conference that despite the networks' backing down over the thorny DVR viewer issue [WARC News: 07-Jun-06]: "That's going to change in May when we will get paid by these millions of people."

He is counting on the debut of commercial ratings, which Nielsen Media Research has pencilled-in for late April [WARC News: 12-Dec-06]. These will, for the first time, provide networks, advertisers and agencies with data on the viewing of individual commercials, including recorded ads.

If all goes according to plan and Nielsen gets cooperation from all interested parties, the data will be available for May's upfront airtime sales.

Moonves also assured the meeting that CBS is leading the pack among the most advertiser-attractive age groups: "And we have the Super Bowl coming up, which will propel our ratings a great deal."

On the digital front he emphasised "deals all over the place" with "Google, Yahoo, Amazon, Comcast" but insisted that significant revenue would eventually come from online advertising, rather than downloads.

The radio's division's weak performance was due to difficult comparisons in the morning-show slot against Howard Stern, the shock jock who defected to satellite radio company Sirius last year. Moonves said he is confident that next year's numbers will be much healthier.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff