nbc refunds advertisers as ratings plunge

nbc refunds advertisers as ratings plungefrom reuters: Fourth-ranked broadcaster NBC has quietly begun reimbursing advertisers an average of $500,000 each for failing to reach guaranteed ratings levels, the first time a network has taken such a step in years, media buyers said.

Networks usually offer make-goods - free advertising slots - in the event of such shortfalls. But NBC has none to give. In fact, no broadcast network has much ad inventory left between now and year's end - except for, perhaps, a handful of units the week between Christmas and New Year's, and that doesn't do much for advertisers chasing holiday shoppers.

CBS, ABC and Fox also are doling out make-goods, primarily for the first quarter. They have blamed softness on a new ratings formula, but media agencies disagree. None of the networks would comment.