NBC Pays Out to Advertisers over Ratings Shortfall

14 December 2007

NEW YORK: Fall season programming at US television network NBC has failed to boost audience numbers, resulting in advertisers getting some of their cash back.

The General Electric-owned network has found it tough to deliver agreed ratings and has returned around $10 million (€6.8m; £4.89m) to marketers - albeit a piffling percentage of the $3.6 billion it had received by the end of September.

In a statement the company declares: "This represents an extremely small portion of NBC's business and accommodates the changing needs of our clients' marketing plans.

"NBC is working with its clients to come up with creative solutions in a new sales environment created by a new business metric and changing consumer behaviour."

The introduction earlier this year of commercials ratings - which measure the numbers of viewers watching the marketing messages rather than the entertainment that surrounds them - appears to have caused tremors beneath the TV industry's feet.

CBS chief research officer David Poltrack says the four major broadcast networks have seen live viewing decline 8% for households and viewers.

He adds: "Viewers currently are skipping about 60% of commercials during playback, and live commercial audiences are about 5% below program audience."

Data sourced from AdAge.com; additional content by WARC staff