Eye opening research arm

New ratings unit for CBS

CBS Corp. has formed a new corporate unit, dubbed CBS Vision, to consolidate all the conglom’s ratings and audience research.

Longtime CBS research head David Poltrack will head the division. He was named exec VP and chief research officer for the corporation.

“The media business is in a state of transition from analog to digital,” he said. “The complexities are growing exponentially, and so are the opportunities, and that’s what we want to tap into.”

Division will oversee all CBS audience research activities as well as provide data to advertisers and distribution partners such as Google, Comcast and Verizon.

“We are getting much more involved in direct-to-consumer research,” Poltrack said. “What do people want? Where do they want to watch television?”

Central to CBS Vision’s efforts is CBS Television City, a state-of-the-art research facility in Las Vegas, which operates 12 hours a day, 365 days a year, studying consumer reactions to shows, advertising techniques and new technologies.

“It’s perfect to do it there because we have access to people from all over the country at all economic strata,” Poltrack said.

In addition, CBS conducts research via a 23,000-member online panel.

Studies conducted by CBS showed that DVR use increased viewership for network primetime shows. Now the net wants Madison Avenue to pay for those viewers in addition to those watching live TV.

Madison Avenue believes those viewers shouldn’t necessarily be counted because time-sensitive ads are rendered useless and many of those viewers are skipping the ads anyway.

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