Here's a quick explanation of how commercials find their way to cable television viewers along three main pathways: national networks, local systems and regional spot purchases.
MAY 17: Two large media-buying companies selected comScore to provide research about online TV viewing, marking a notable departure from the TV industry's historical reliance on Nielsen for ratings data. The deals with Starcom MediaVest Group and Zenith Optimedia elevate comScore's standing as a go-to source for television viewing data in the age of Internet video. "It's a multi-screen, mobile world and we need to be able to measure audiences fluidly and seamlessly," said Laura Desmond, SMG's chief executive officer in this Wall St. Journal article (subscription required).
MAY 15: Another day, another upfront, another indication that cable networks are moving to online streaming with or without the presence of locally sold commercials. Today's presentation by Turner Broadcasting (write-up courtesy of Variety) offers news of forthcoming live-streaming feeds for TNT and TBS. They'll be available only to authorized/authenticated cable/satellite/telco video subscribers, of course, but here again, the availability of network streaming content precedes widespread adoption of dynamic ad insertion systems that can inject localized advertisements otherwise seen on traditional TV signals. Just another sign of a growing need to make local advertising part of the emerging TV Everywhere picture.
MAY 15: Nice take by Bloomberg on growing unease over the Missing Viewers problem, or Nielsen's inability to count viewers who watch TV shows online. Some estimates suggest as much of 12% of actual TV viewing in the U.S. is going uncounted -- costing networks and affiliates millions in unrealized advertising revenue.