It was introduced in 2007 as a stop-gap measure, a compromise between media buyers and TV ad executives that was never meant to be in place for more than a year or two, and yet despite mounting dissatisfaction on both sides of the table, C3 ratings this spring will serve as the negotiating currency for the eleventh consecutive upfront bazaar.[Insert sad trombone noise here.]
The benchmark against which some $20 billion in upfront commitments will be made in the coming weeks, C3 remains a woefully imprecise and inadequate metric. (Sloppy methodology aside, neither C3 nor its bulked-up sibling C7 account for fast-forwarding through commercials. In other words, the currency has never really measured what it's always been purported to measure.) And while the first three days of Upfronts Week have been punctuated by a drumbeat of calls to junk the industry standard, perhaps no network sales exec has been more vocal about the need to move forward than Turner ad sales president Donna Speciale.