AMC, Nielsen Partner to Create New Metrics

AMC is marrying its classic movies with new research to offer advertisers what it says is the ability to target audiences as closely as Web search engines can.

The cable network has partnered with Nielsen to devise an audience measurement tool it says enables advertisers to purchase packages of movies and series based on its viewers' behavioral characteristics. The tool—the “Audience Identity Metric,” or “AIM”—was created by asking some 5,000 viewers about their movie and behavioral preferences.

AMC says it will listen to the specific types of audiences that advertisers want to reach based on those behaviors, as well as age/sex preferences, and then craft movie packages that are ideal for reaching those viewers by using AIM. It will guarantee the advertisers delivery of those audiences.

“We think we've put together a set of tools to help planners and buyers meet their need,” says Charlie Collier, general manager and executive VP of AMC. He said the network doubled its research budget over the past 18 months to better understand its audience, all in an effort to match Internet search giants in their ability to claim “accountability” for advertisers' dollars.

AMC is offering the metric at a time when spending on Internet advertising grew 15.9% last year and cable TV advertising only grew 6.5%, according to TNS Media Intelligence. The Internet's total take was $11.3 billion compared to cable's $17.8 billion, but television in general faces a threat for those dollars.

“We are comprised of iconic brands and stars that people stop at and opt into at any time—it's an entire schedule of opt-in viewing,” Collier said. “Each movie is like a Website—so, we said, 'What are the behaviors of people who opt in to these films and how can we better serve the buyer and planner trying to reach them? This takes us closer to what the client wants in targeting than what television has done.”

Rainbow Media-owned AMC is entering the upfront up 6% in prime during first quarter of 2008 to 1.22 million total viewers, according to Nielsen, and its Mad Men won the Golden Globe for best TV series.

In addition to the “AIM” metric it is using to measure its own viewers, AMC is pitching advertisers on a second measurement tool that it can apply to all networks. Working with Nielsen and Simmons, the network has come up with an “Ad Vantage” metric that purports to measure engagement and receptivity. The measurement bolsters Nielsen data of audience size to show that audience's involvement with programming, AMC says.