A revolution in US TV media sales [see today's lead story] is about to begin as the ABC network prepares to sell airtime based on the rating measurement of commercial slots rather than overall program viewing figures.

ABC says it is prepared to sell "show by show, day part by day part, whatever the client wants", ahead of Nielsen Media Research's data on commercial ratings which becomes available for this fall TV season. The figures will be based on based on live viewing plus delayed viewing for seven days on digital video recorders.

Commercial ratings are expected to become airtime currency for next May's upfront sales and will end the argument over which program ratings — live, live plus same day, or live plus seven day - should be used.

The debate colored this year's annual upfront ritual when the TV networks insisted DVR viewing figures should be taken into account by advertisers, while Madison Avenue's media buyers and their clients refused to play ball [WAMN: 07-Jun-06].

ABC's president of sales Mike Shaw says the broadcast networks should create an association that can serve as a forum for the discussion of such issues - much like the Television Bureau of Advertising which represents individual TV stations.

Data sourced from Adweek (USA); additional content by WARC staff