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July 28, 2006

AETN Signs Deal for Measurement of Viewer Engagement

Another cable television deal with a media research firm fell in place this week to help measure the level of quality of viewer involvement rather than merely a number-of-eyeballs quantitative figure.

IAG Research, the firm that already works with five of the six current broadcast networks (excluding ABC), as well as several of the top cable networks such as the two flagship Turner stations, TNT and TBS, as well as USA, Lifetime and ESPN, has now added A&E Television Networks to its clients list.

The group will be measuring consumer engagement with product placement and other advertising initiatives, in attempt to give more concrete numbers to justify the spending of advertising dollars in the television medium.

The company measures response to both advertising and product placement, as well as programs themselves, as they air every evening on television, according to Jon Lafayette with Television Week.

A&E Television Networks include both A&E and The History Channel, among others.

The move shows a continued growth in awareness that traditional models of measurement and advertising are not working, despite what people may say in press releases. With companies beginning to measure engagement in a variety of ways (see OMD's proposal for a "standard engagement currency" across platforms or Google's proposal for minute-by-minute fan reactions through interactive television), and with Nielsen beginning to measure commercial minutes separately and offering minute-by-minute reports of viewer numbers from their sample, as well as the implementation of new measurement systems through the A2/M2 system over the next several years, we're likely to see some significant changes in the way television operates and is viewed by both producers and advertisers, on the one hand, and people themselves, as we as a culture are redefining the staple American media form in today's convergence environment.

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