CBS boss Les Moonves has big ideas for TV commercials

CBS boss Leslie Moonves has some big plans for TV commercials -- plans that could change how much advertisers pay for a 30-second spot, what kinds of ads viewers will see and even what kinds of shows stay on the air.

At the moment, advertisers pay for viewers who watch TV programs within three days of the original airdate. But Moonves is pushing for a much longer window -- up to a month, in fact.

Why? Because the more time-delayed viewing on DVRs that is thrown into the mix, the higher the overall viewership is -- and the more the network can charge advertisers. At least theoretically.

"When you count 30 days more, the number [of viewers] almost doubles," Moonves told an investment conference Wednesday, according to Deadline.

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This could amount to a huge change. Start with programming. Many scripted shows that don't seem to be doing well now could end up looking great. CBS' drama "Hostages" has been widely viewed as a disappointment this fall, but if viewers from up to 30 days later are included, the show's performance would probably look solid.

Not every show would win, though. Reality TV would be relatively disadvantaged under such a system, because people tend to want to watch competition shows like "American Idol" and "Dancing With the Stars" on the night they air. A 30-day window would give many sitcoms and dramas a chance to pull even or beat "Idol" in the ratings.

Of course, this would mean a change for advertisers -- one that they'll probably resist, because it could mean more money out the door. But it could also change the type of commercials viewers see. Movie studios like to advertise on Thursday nights, for instance, because that gives them a chance to promote their products to people planning their weekends. But if many of the viewers the studios are paying for are actually watching the show after the movies in question are already out of theaters -- or at least far beyond their critical opening weekends -- it gives the filmmakers less incentive to pay top dollar for a Thursday ad.

Whether Moonves will get his way remains to be seen. But many industry analysts agree that some sort of longer window for measurement viewing -- at least a week or so -- is coming soon. The DVR has made the change inevitable.

What do you think of the possibilities?


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