Powered by i.TV
September 19, 2014

The first commercial in a break (kind of ) gets the highest ratings

by Brad Linder, posted Aug 21st 2007 1:30PM
TiVo RemoteNew research suggests something that you probably could have guessed without doing a study. PVR users are most likely to watch the first advertisement during a TV commercial break than the ads that follow. That's according to a new study by Magna Global.

But here's where it gets tricky. Magna analyzed second by second data provided by TiVo. What they found was that a TV program's ratings dropped by 59% during the commercial break. But for the first commercial in that break, there was only a 49% drop. Great, so advertisers should get out their checkbooks and prepare to pay more for that first spot, right? Not so fast.
It turns out that the commercial position doesn't make much difference when you're watching live TV. In that case, the program ratings drop by just about 4% across the board. That's because you can't fast-forward, and presumably you don't feel like channel flipping. Of course, you might have gotten up to take a potty break or get a snack, but your TiVo doesn't know that. Yet.

So the first position is really only more valuable among PVR households. Well, that still means something, because that's a lot of households, right? Well, maybe.

You also have to consider that many of the commercials in the first spot are actually network promos for upcoming programs. While Media Life Magazine speculates that this means networks could shift those promos and make way for high-paying ads, I think there's something else going on here. The reason the first ad is the most watched is because it takes you a moment to grab the remote control and start fast forwarding. If you see something that catches your eye, you might stop to watch. And what's more likely to catch the eye of a TV fan than information about upcoming programs?

It's not at all clear to me that placing an ad in the first position will be enough to make it popular. It's just as likely that the first position is popular because of the ads that have already been placed there.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

1 Comment

Filter by:
Blake

The smartest place to put the commercial is the very first 10 seconds of the show. Your DVR changes the channel at exactly 8:00 pm to record the Daily Show, but the Daily Show doesn't start until about 10 seconds later. No one skips that commercial...

August 22 2007 at 6:03 PM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Follow Us

From Our Partners