DirecTV Signs Up for Nielsen Ratings

DirecTV Inc. is aiming to become a bigger national ad-sales player now that
it’s signed up for Nielsen Media Research’s audience ratings.

The company expects its selling effort to "move to a new level" as a result
of the recently signed agreement, according to Kirk Kopic, the direct-broadcast
satellite provider’s vice president of advertiser sales.

But Kopic said DirecTV is subscribing to special monthly ratings reports on
its cable networks, rather than the ratings giant’s overnight numbers. Under a
contract that took effect July 1, he added, those monthly reports will go to ad
agencies and other Nielsen subscribers.

Kopic pointed out that DirecTV -- which is now in 11.5 million homes -- sells
"by clusters," rather than by network or individual programs. All told, the
company and its ad-sales rep, Sony Pictures Television, group its 100 networks
into eight clusters: female, male, adult, young adult, kids, sports, news and

Besides its monthly report, Nielsen will supply the DBS leader with a custom
Media Information Tape, listing data by quarter-hour for every day of the week,
as well as demographics for DirecTV’s clusters and individual sports events, the
companies said.

DirecTV’s commercial inventory averages two national minutes per hour --
sometimes three minutes -- with the avails positioned during the same local ad
breaks the networks’ cable affiliates get, Kopic explained.

Kopic said it’s too soon for DirecTV to get feedback from the ad agencies,
since media buyers had not yet been informed last week about its Nielsen

But he added that the measurement move would help the DBS platform to expand
its sponsor roster to include those accounts that balk at buying schedules on
unmeasured media.

Nielsen will derive its DirecTV ratings data from subscriber homes that
belong to the researcher’s random national 'People Meter' sample. Kopic
estimated that "400 to 500" DirecTV customers are part of the 5,000-home People
Meter sample at any given time.