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BizReport : Advertising archives : January 05, 2010

Changing how some plugs are measured

If you've taken stock of some 2009 measurements, you may be shocked to see sharp decreases amongst some of the hottest television shows. The change is actually due to a measurement change rather than consumers dropping off the radar, and that means marketers need to take stock of just what these measurements mean.

by Kristina Knight

The change comes from how Nielsen is measuring product placements during broadcast and cable television programming. Doesn't affect online marketers? Think again. As part of a balanced, multiple venue campaign television should highly matter - and that includes how placements are being measured.

According to Nielsen, all 'similar occurences' of a product placement within a televised segment now counts as one occurrence. So, when the "American Idol" judges drink from their branded Coca-Cola glasses five times during one segment, this will now be counted as a single product placement rather than five different placements.

The change in measurement changed how the 2008 #1 and #2 shows were ranked. In 2008 "The Biggest Loser" ranked first for product placements with "American Idol" running a close second. In 2009 "American Idol" jumped to lead the product placement pack with the "Jay Leno Show" ranking second and "The Biggest Loser" dropping to third.

Are advertisers getting the same bang for their buck with the product placement measurement change? According to David Kaplan, senior vice-president of research and product development with Nielsen, yes. Kaplan explained that the change is only in how placements are measured, not the amount of time that the placement is on-screen. Returning to the "American Idol" analogy, those Coca-Cola glasses are on-screen the same amount of time in each segment, they are simply counted as a smaller number.

Meanwhile, Nielsen lists the Top Ten programs for 2009 as "American Idol" (the Wednesday and Thursday editions) with a 14.4 rating, "Dancing with the Stars (12 rating) and "Sunday Night Football" (11.7 rating). Also in the top five were the "Dancing with the Stars" Results Show (9.9 rating) and new drama "NCIS: Los Angeles" with a 9.8 rating.

Tags: advertising, Nielsen Online, product endorsements, product placement, television

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