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As the TV upfront shapes up, the answer to the PVR/DVR threat seems to be “Live Plus Three”.
With an estimated 25% of households in major cities now using DVRs, there are some serious dollars at stake for the coming TV season terms of what advertisers are not willing to pay anymore for live network broadcasts. Live Plus Three is the compromise for how networks want shows measured re: audience reach / viewer ship at time of broadcasting (live) as well as 72 hours out (plus three) in order to accommodate for time-shifted or otherwise delayed viewing.
An article in yesterday’s Globe And Mail by Stuart Elliott said:

“Last spring, in the upfront market before the 2006-7 season, CBS and the other broadcasters tried to persuade the agencies and advertisers to accept live plus seven, they ultimately failed, meaning the live standard was in place for another season”

Now here are a few interesting quotes from Jo Ann Ross, president of sales at CBS

“This is a gentleman’s business…if some advertisers want to use measurements other than live plus three (we) will be flexible. We want to write business but we will not do live only; we want to get credit for DVR viewing”.

The times are a changing. It’s not that I don’t believe in TV advertising, I just don’t believe the money being charged is at all in-line with what you get from it – the value does not seem to be there at current market prices.
Time was when networks were really the only game in town and the advertisers lined up to throw money at the upfront and the live audiences they drew in. Begs the question about how deep the cuts will be when Neilsen moves from a program viewership model to a commercial viewer model. I guarantee those numbers will spell even more erosion for networks.
In my view, if 7-Up is the uncola – not quite Coke, but not quite seltzer, then Live Plus Three is the un-compromise – not quite live, and not quite the reality of how PVR’d shows are watched in terms of attention to advertising. The model still seems broken.