Comcast Media Center, Nielsen hook up on C3 VOD service

Tue, 06/09/2009 - 8:30am
Mike Robuck

The Comcast Media Center is offering a new service on its national video-on-demand platform that measures viewership for on-demand and time-shifted content.

The CMC’s “C3 VOD” service uses the Nielsen Co.’s C3 commercial ratings in order to measure the average commercial minutes in programs that were viewed in live and time-shifted mode, delivered via on-demand or DVR playback during the three days following the programs’ linear broadcasts.

The CMC said that three cable television programming networks were planning to use the new service, but AMC was the only cable programmer named in today’s press release.

“Buyers and sellers of television advertising need clear information on how consumers watch time-shifted television. Nielsen has measured VOD since 2006, and we’re thrilled that Comcast Media Center has joined the effort to provide the media and advertising community with what it requires,” said Scott L Brown, senior vice president of media product leadership for Nielsen.

The CMC’s C3 VOD service uses its rapid-turn capabilities to acquire linear TV programs during their original broadcast, provide real-time encoding of the program, including the original advertising, and incorporate the profiles for C3 commercial ratings provided by Nielsen.

The VOD-encoded programs are delivered to local cable systems for time-shifted viewing within hours of the original broadcast.

Commercial C3 ratings allow television networks to monetize the VOD audience by aggregating it with linear viewing in a metric known to advertisers. The CMC will replace original advertising containing Nielsen profile data at the discretion of participating television programming networks and their cable system affiliates.

Powering the CMC’s rapid-turn capabilities for on-demand programming is its Content Distribution Operations Center, or “CDOC” ingest service. CDOC features full national fiber and satellite arc capabilities and managed more than 5,000 live event feeds in 2008, including direct feeds from linear television networks that used its rapid turn-around service for time-shifted VOD programming. 

The CMC also announced today that Comcast Spotlight, recognizing the growing usage of time-shifting technologies and the need for programmers and advertisers to get accurate audience estimates, will also offer a suite of cross-platform marketing opportunities to television programmers wanting to drive awareness and viewing of content offered in VOD. 

“Nielsen’s affirmation of our ability to help support its on-demand audience measurement systems is a tremendous benefit for our content services customers and cable MSO affiliates,” said Gary Traver, senior vice president and chief operating officer for the Comcast Media Center. “By demonstrating the value of advertising that accompanies VOD programming, television networks and other content providers can measure the value of their investment in on-demand television programming. 

“Moreover, these audience measurement tools will complement the ability of ETV applications and promotional capabilities, including the services that Comcast Spotlight is providing, to help drive additional audience demand for linear shows that are also available in local VOD libraries.”

These promotional opportunities include banner ads on Comcast’s i-Guide, the Comcast/Macrovision interactive program guide. The banner ads on i-Guide provide immediate access to linear and VOD programming by letting viewers telescope directly to linear programs or VOD selections with a click of their remote controls. In addition, “tune-in” spots will be available on linear channels, promoting awareness of the programs and helping to drive further VOD viewership.

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