TWC's Bucher says online video audience numbers are inflated

Time Warner Cable (NYSE: TWC) used its NewFronts presentation to poke holes in claims made by online video companies that they reach audiences more efficiently than linear TV.

Of course, the bigger news might seem to be that Fred Bucher, chief marketing officer for Time Warner Cable Media, was at NewFronts at all. The event was set up by digital media companies to compete with traditional TV's Madison Avenue effacing "upfront" market. 

But at the event covered by Adweek, Bucher came ready for battle — cable is "digital," too, he said, and it's a much more efficient at video ad-delivery than many of the major online video platforms. 

"The choice today is not a matter of TV versus digital. Cable TV is digital," Bucher said. "While it's all digital, not all digital impressions are created equal."

Bucher specifically noted Yahoo's claim that its October live stream of an NFL game broadcast drew 33.6 million streams and 15.22 million unique viewers. But the average audience per minute for the live stream, which is the same metric used in linear TV ratings, was just 2.36 million viewers and 1.64 million in the U.S. The linear TV broadcasts of the game averaged 18.2 million viewers per minute, which is 11 times higher than Yahoo's numbers.

Bucher didn't mention YouTube by name. But earlier, during the Google platform's NewFronts presentation, CEO Susan Wojcicki made the bold claim that YouTube reaches more viewers on mobile in the prime 18-49 adult demo than any TV network. 

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