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When TV Ratings Miss Their Mark, ABC Offers ‘Make-Good’ Ad Space Online

The 100-day writers strike that ended in February has taken its toll on the TV networks’ ratings. Since TV advertisers negotiate prices based on guaranteed ratings targets, a wave of “makegoods” — ad units cobbled together to help make up for the audience that was missed the first time around — are expected to impact the fall season to some extent. ABC tells Mediapost it plans to offer marketers the option of taking their makegoods online. Ad space will be offered to some advertisers on a limited basis on ABC’s online video not just as a way of avoiding giving away chunks of broadcast airtime; it also has the potential to draw more advertisers to ABC’s internet video.

Win/win for advertisers: Mike Shaw, ABC’s ad sales president, says that giving advertisers online makegoods benefits them since online CPMs are one-quarter to one-third higher compared to broadcast. They can also get better placement on shows that are otherwise sold out on TV, such as hits like Grey’s Anatomy, Lost and Desperate Housewives. While ABC might be excited about the prospect of shifting makegoods to online, the other networks appear to be taking a wait-and-see approach. NBC, which experimented with internet makegoods last year isn’t offering the option to media agencies at this point.

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