Insights Center


Ad-supported Network
A national or regional cable TV channel, such as MTV or ESPN, that makes available a certain amount of time per hour for local commercials.

Alternate Delivery System (ADS)
Refers to reception of TV programming via satellite (DBS or large dish).

The most commonly used frequency for transmitting video content. Commercials stored on videotape, for instance, use an analog format. A more recent technology involves the conversion of analog content to a digital, or computer-based, format.

Average Audiences (AA)
The number of coverage households tuned to the reported cable network during the average minute of the program.

Avail (Availability)
A break within normal network programming allotted to a local cable system for insertion of local commercials.

Avail Code
A code assigned to a program or time period for placing commercials on a log and for keeping track of the number of commercials available to sell.

Basic Cable
Cable TV channels that are typically packaged and made available to a wide number of subscribing households. Basic channels usually are advertiser-supported.

Cable Original
A program, such as a movie or series that is originally produced and premiered by a cable network. The quality of cable originals has led to a dramatic shift in audience to cable.

Cable System
The local operation that distributes cable TV channels, usually over a combination of fiber optic and coaxial wires, to subscribing households.

The turnover of cable television subscribers due to disconnects and/or new subscribers.

Community Antenna Television/Cable Television CATV
TV sets are connected by a wired transmission system provided by a cable operator serving multiple premises.

Cost Per Person (CPP)
This number describes the relationship between the cost of a television commercial and the estimated number of people or households who view it.

Cost Per Thousand (CPM)
The cost of advertising per thousand potential customers reached by a given broadcast advertisement.

Coverage Area
The geographic territory in which a cable system distributes commercials.

Cumulative Audience
A research term describing the unduplicated audience for a television program or commercial over multiple airings. In cumulative audience figures, an individual is counted only once.

Digital Cable
A collection of channels, typically distributed to subscribers as an add-on package, which are transmitted initially in the form of binary code and used to enhance cable TV service and/or two-way high-speed Internet.

Digital Television (DTV)
Encompasses HDTV, or high-definition television, which is a set of standards for video and audio-signal quality.

Direct Broadcast Satellite (DBS)
A service that transmits satellite signals directly to a home through the viewer's own earth station rather than a cable system. DirecTV is an example of a DBS service.

Acronym for Designated Market Area. DMAs are a way of designating particular geographic markets, and are often ranked by size of population. New York City is the nation’s largest DMA so its DMA ranking is 1.

Direct-to-Home (DTH)
Households receive satellite transmission directly without the intermediary of cable transmission.

Discrepancies occur when the invoice and the original order for an advertisement do not match.

Dual Feed
A dual feed is two separate broadcast transmissions for two separate time zones, so that programming times will be uniform for viewers on both coasts. Most cable networks now support dual feed broadcasts.

Electronic Data Interchange (EDI)
EDI is the computer to computer transmission of information in a pre-determined, structured and standardized format. In cable advertising, EDI is currently being used to transmit contracts and invoices between cable networks and advertising agencies. The VAB is intimately involved in the continuing evolution of EDI for the cable advertising industry.

The number of times the same viewer sees your commercial. Often used in tandem with Reach.

Gross Rating Points (GRP)
The sum of the ratings to each message on a schedule, this includes duplication.

HDTV (High Definition Television)
HDTV provides five channels of CD-quality digital surround-sound and about five times more picture information (picture elements, or pixels) than conventional, analog television.

Household (HH)
The core measure of circulation for a cable TV system. Typically, cable companies collect a monthly subscription fee from each household served. In addition to detached homes, apartment units are usually counted as individual households.

Household Penetration
The percentage of households within a cable TV service area that elect to subscribe. If 7,500 homes within a 10,000-household service area subscribe, the household penetration level would be expressed as 75 percent.

HUT (Homes using TV)
The percentage of TV HHs viewing TV during a specific time period.

Interactive Cable
Cable systems that have the technical ability to let subscribers communicate directly with a computer at the system headend from their television sets, using special converters and regular cable lines. VoD is a form of interactive cable.

A collection of two or more cable TV systems that work together to distribute commercials to a wider geographic area than either system, individually, would otherwise reach.

Live Feed
A live feed is the use of a single broadcast transmission for each time zone. This means that programming that airs in primetime on the East coast at 8 PM will air on the West coast at 5 PM.

Refers to an advertisement that did not run as originally scheduled as is being run again to "make good" on (or fulfill the intent of) the original ad order/contract.

Multiple System Operator (MSO)
A company that operates more than one cable TV system. Companies such as Comcast and Time Warner Cable are examples of MSOs.

Programming designed to reach a specific group defined by demographics and/or program content.

On Demand
An entertainment service that allows viewers instant access to content such as movies, cable series, original programs, educational programs, premium channels, news, sports, etc. Programming from content providers is delivered by consumer's cable company and may be free, subscription-based, or paid for on a transactional basis. With On Demand service, consumers can control what they watch and when, with features such as play, pause, fast-forward, rewind and stop. Preferred to VoD.

Pay Cable
Also known as Premium Cable. Refers to channels, such as HBO™, available for an extra fee at the discretion of cable TV subscribers.

Usually movies or special events that a cable subscriber specially requests to receive for a single fee added to the monthly cable bill.

Per-Inquiry Advertising
Direct-response advertising for which the cable network or system running the commercial is paid based on the number of responses recieved rather than the commercial time used.

PUT (People Using Television)
PUT or persons using television at a particular time, is expressed as a percent of all persons in TV homes. PUT combines all persons viewing, rather than reporting specific program viewing. Note that PUT and PVT (Persons viewing television) are interchangeable terms in common usage.

PVR (Personal Video Recorder)
A generic term for a device that is similar to a VCR but records television data in digital format as opposed to the VCR's analog format. PVRs have all of the same functionality of VCRs plus the ability to instantly jump to any part of the program without having to rewind or fast forward the data stream. Two common PVR systems are TiVo and ReplayTV.

The audience of a particular program or station at a specific period of time expressed as a percent of the audience population. The percent sign is not shown, and the rating may represent household viewing or a specific demographic audience segment's listening or viewing.

The number of different people or households exposed to your television commercial. Often used in tandem with Frequency.

Recall (Aided)
Consumers are given specific product/service names to prompt a response to a survey.

Recall (Unaided)
Percent of consumers who can cite a product/service name within an advertised category after being queried by a survey.

Regional Networks
Refers to cable TV channels distributed in a regional area that carry a mix of area professional and amateur sports teams, news plus some national programming.

Rep Firm
An outside sales agent contracted by a cable system to manage relationships with certain advertisers, typically those outside of the local system service area.

Run of Schedule (ROS)
Commercials bought to be run at any available time at the network's discretion.

Scatter Buying
Marketers purchasing commercial time when the need arises from the unsold inventory at a different cost then the upfront buys. See Upfront.

The audience of a particular television program or time period expressed as a percent of the population viewing TV at that particular time. Share, then, is a percent allocation of the viewing audience and differs from the rating which is a percent of the potential audience. Share is usually reported on a household basis.

Spot Cable
Usually refers to commercial schedules placed on local cable systems by national or regional advertisers who often advertise in multiple cable TV markets.

A household or business that legally receives cable and/or pay television service for its own use.

A generic term used to describe any broadcast television station that has its station distributed nationally by satellite.

Programming services beyond the basic offerings at an additional price increment.

All homes in a market, also known as HHs or a demographically defined group such as adults 25-54.

The buying of national television advertising time for a full broadcast year, (generally September through August) via one negotiation. Upfront buying usually requires representation throughout all four quarters; allows cancellation options in the last six months of a buy and generally allows audience guarantees to advertisers.

Short for Video-on-Demand, an umbrella term for a wide set of technologies and companies whose common goal is to enable individuals to select videos from a central server for viewing on a television.

Wired HH's
Term to describe those households that subscribe to a cable service.

Key Digital Terms

Behavioral Targeting
Refers to a method of tracking frequent and popular searches made by a browser

Click Through Rate (CTR)
The rate of clicks through a digital advertisement out of the total delivered impressions

Cost Per Acquisition
Rate an advertiser is charged for a confirmed sale or lead.  Also referred to as CPO (Cost Per Order)

Cost Per Action
The efficiency of the media in generating actions, where the advertiser pays for each specified action (a purchase, a form submission, etc.) linked to the advertisement

Cost Per Click (CPC)
The efficiency in generating clicks through a digital advertisement within a media spend

Metric representing a consumer performing the intended result of an advertisement (i.e. following through to order a product, registering for more information, viewing a video, etc.)

Conversion Rate
The rate at which a consumer sees an ad and converts to an order/lead/action

Targeting that allows impressions to be served in specific DMAs or zip codes

Reallocating impressions/budget from lower to better performing placements during a campaign to garner optimal results

Real-Time Bidding (RTB)
Bidding system used in exchanges that allow for transactions to be made as impressions become available

A form of online targeted advertising that is delivered to consumers based on previous Internet actions that did not result in a conversion in the past

Rich Media
An ad unit that utilizes advanced technology that includes components such as video, animation, special effects, etc