NBC Broadcast Chairman Ted Harbert opened his company’s upfront presentation taking a swipe at Dish Network, Nielsen, and even — very gently — advertisers themselves. He told the Radio City Music Hall audience that Dish Network’s new Auto Hop DVR feature, which enables viewers to automatically jump over ads in recorded shows, is “an insult to our joint programming, and I’m against it.” Many analysts have wondered whether broadcasters will ask the courts to rule that the feature violates their copyrights. Harbert also told advertisers that Nielsen needs to iron out the kinks in its ability to count viewers who watch TV via broadband, including on iPads and other tablets. “You want these answers and for the amount of money you’re spending, you deserve them.” The exec added that advertisers should evaluate NBC’s schedule year-round, not just the in 39 weeks from September through May. About 60% of the network’s summer shows are original, so it “isn’t just repeats anymore.” Noting that cable channels are evaluated year round he says, “let’s talk about it.” He also wants to change the way audience size is calculated. He’d like to include people who watch a show as much as seven days after it first airs, up from the current standard of three days. Harbert says that NBC is investing $15B on sports including the Olympics, we well as millions on local TV newscasts, and more on first run shows. “If we’re going to spend all this money on content it has to be measured and monetized.” He adds that his network can do its part with promotion. “When Comcast and NBC merged some feared we’d be too big to work together toward a common goal.” But with 97 properties in the company’s asset mix, “no one can do what we do. It’s kind of awesome to see.”
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