As the new television season premieres roll out, BBC America and AT&T are the first to create brand integration with real stopping power. Prior to the August 27th premiere of BBC America's top-rated Doctor Who Advertising Age reported a new ad format that blurs the lines between content and commercials. AT&T's team worked with the show's executive producer and director to create a "bridging scene" commercial vignette. Not only is this a breakthrough creative idea, but TiVo's commercial ratings proved its success. The 60-second AT&T "Rethink Possible" commercial doubled the audience versus the average commercial rating.
In the chart below, the line tracks second-by-second program and commercial ratings. The ratings include live and time-shifted viewing over three days. The commercial break at 9:27 represents a typical U-shaped viewing drop off in DVR homes. The commercial break at 9:42 shows the stopping power of the AT&T "bridging scene" commercial vignette.
The reason this is so important for BBCA, AT&T, and all TV advertisers is the growing adoption of DVRs and commercial skipping. DVR penetration is 40% in the US, and in primetime, 55% of all broadcast and cable network programs are watched in time-shifted mode. And to no surprise, when viewers time-shift, they overwhelming fast-forward the six-figure priced commercials. With double digit CPMs in this year's upfront, it will be interesting to see how many advertisers follow suit with new commercial formats, and double check the CPM return on investment.
Greg DePalma is Vice President of Audience Insights at TiVo Inc., where he consults with advertiser, agency, and network clients to increase commercial effectiveness in a DVR world. Greg can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.