Media agencies on VOZ

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 14 June 2023
Photo by Nothing Ahead via Pexels.

The first phase of the long-awaited Virtual Australia (VOZ) measurement began a month ago with the launch of daily overnight viewing data, a milestone on the journey to a Total TV reporting standard and trading currency.

The debut of daily next-day overnight data marks the start of a transition period for the industry to become accustomed to VOZ and be ready to transact, with the goal for VOZ to become trading currency in calendar year 2024.

VOZ is heralded as an accurate picture of total TV viewing, combining broadcast content watched on all screens, anytime, anywhere in one data set.

Media agencies say VOZ has proved useful for planning and strategy, even at this early stage.

Cross-channel opportunities and campaign optimisations 

Lucy Formosa-Morgan, MD of MAGNA Australia, said that although VOZ is not yet currency or as yet operational for TV buying, MAGNA is using the VOZ data to uncover insights for planning, understanding more accurately the changing consumption habits of audiences across different devices and digging into particular key programmes. 

“We’re also in the process of testing and evaluating different converged buying models to evolve how we buy total TV,” said Formosa-Morgan.


Trent McMillan (pictured right), founder and chief digital officer of Kaimera, echoed those sentiments, saying his agency is currently leveraging VOZ data from a planning perspective, which forms part of its approach to budget allocation and channel recommendations.

“Now we’ve had access for a month, our attention has turned to how the data can complement and enhance our reporting, measurement, and campaign optimisations across our TV and BVOD buys,” said McMillan.

For media agencies and advertisers, VOZ provides insights into cross-platform, broadcast TV and BVOD reach and frequency, revealing for the first time the incremental audience watching only on BVOD.

Advertisers and media agencies can create and post-evaluate media plans encompassing TV inventory across all broadcast channels and devices, and manage cross-screen campaigns – including de-duplicated cross-device audience reach goals right up to a national level.

Mollie Cross, The Media Store's trading manager, said the prospect of change excites the agency and the introduction of VOZ helps it to reimagine the screens landscape through uncovering new insights and perspectives to better serve the needs of clients and customers. 

“To date, VOZ has been utilised more as a strategic tool, to offer a new perspective of the screens omnichannel ecosystem and consumption across mediums,” Cross told AdNews.

“As VOZ becomes the currency for screens, we see great potential for integrating cross-channel opportunities more seamlessly into our media buys; however, the challenge persists of how much information we can confidently feedback to clients while the methodology is still being critiqued and finessed.”


Yasmin Sherif (pictured right), Alchemy One’s associate director, said that while VOZ promises a comprehensive understanding of audience engagement across both broadcast TV and online streaming platforms, the current limitation is that agencies are only receiving daily ratings, not the granular data that would truly enhance decision-making. 

“The full potential of VOZ in helping with TV buys will be realised when this comprehensive data becomes readily available,” said Sherif.

The BVOD and streaming dilemmas

The third-party systems suppliers to VOZ are still working through gold standard certification - something Formosa-Morgan said is taking “longer than everyone anticipated”.

A number of media agencies AdNews spoke with said that until the VOZ data has been independently certified, there would be questions around validity.

Assuming VOZ receives certification, Kaimera’s McMillan said he sees two key gaps, the first being questions around who is not represented within the data, which includes  Kayo, Binge, Netflix and YouTube. 

“To ensure we are providing our clients with the best recommendations it would be ideal to have a consolidated view across what their audiences are watching and we'd welcome these partners to be involved,” said McMillan.

“Secondly, there’s the divide between how you buy TV and BVOD respectively. This one unfortunately will probably linger until the day all inventory is traded via a unified platform.”

Cross at The Media Store said no channel is immune from the complexities of data stacking, especially when correlating channels that can be consumed both in-home and on-the-go, where private viewing meets communal consumption and analogue persists in an increasingly digital world. 

“One of the challenges I can see from VOZ is that the data foundation is currently built with a certain volume of BVOD impressions at the base,” said Cross. 

“This view is quite rudimentary and doesn’t give us the functionality to see how BVOD and TV run concurrently, can build over time without significant time investment to run and re-run reports. 

“Additionally, the audience mechanics of the system are closely tied to the TV trading ecosystem, which limits the value of the insights, as BVOD is often bought through more bespoke and detailed audience segments. 

“This is an area that will need to transition in the medium to long-term, to better align the strategic opportunity of cross-channel planning with the go-to-market implementation plan, improving data validity and driving outcomes for our clients.”

Alchemy One’s Sherif said that if VOZ doesn’t include data from all streaming platforms, particularly international ones, this could be a significant gap in providing a truly holistic view of audience viewing behaviour.

“The main gap at present [however] is that VOZ data isn’t fully accessible to agencies which restricts a complete evaluation of its efficacy,” Sherif told AdNews.

“Although it’s been heralded for its ability to provide a 360-degree view of viewership, the reality is that until all promised data becomes accessible, the system’s full potential remains untapped.”

A short market, but spots still available

The tough macroeconomic climate that Australia (and much of the world) is currently suffering through has not spared the TV sector, with the market shortening and the demand fluctuating in terms of television commercials.


MAGNA’s Formosa-Morgan (pictured right) said that the audience declines on linear coupled with the more challenging economic climate have created a perfect storm for the networks and certainly impacted the spend going towards the channel to date this year. 

“The market remains short-term and yes, there are still avails, however it’s not surprising that the key tent pole shows are selling out far more quickly as people look to optimise their campaigns with efficient, higher reaching programming,” said Formosa-Morgan.

“Demand does look to be strengthening as we close out the financial year and move into July, but it’ll be a volatile H2 given the continued nervousness around the economy.”

Cross said that the only thing certain is that the TV marketplace is ever evolving - while audience declines begin to decelerate, investment in the market continues to outstrip supply and drive inflation through scarcity. 

“This scarcity has resulted in uncertainty from clients and delayed decision-making, a perfect storm for inflationary pressure and a decline in buy quality,” Cross told AdNews.

“While this is not a new phenomenon, agencies play an increasingly critical role in persuading clients away from the cycle of lastminute investment, to encourage longer-term thinking and fluid strategies that deliver high quality outcomes for our clients and positive media experiences for their prospective customers.”

Alchemy One’s Sherif agreed that linear TV has been fluctuating year on year since COVID and has thus proven difficult to accurately predict audience numbers, and although securing TV spots is possible given enough lead time, the demand and pricing are subject to fluctuations based on seasonal factors and programming popularity. 

“From a delivery perspective, we’re seeing dynamic buying proving to be the most effective method of delivering audiences, while the networks that don’t offer this yet seem to be falling behind,” said Sherif. 

“Due to the fluctuations in regional populations since COVID, we’re seeing an uptake of key programming across the regional networks, creating more demand and fewer avails.”

McMillan said Kaimera are not currently experiencing any supply issues with TV, but with viewership in decline, audiences are under-delivering across most campaigns. 

“TV networks have been accommodating in placing makegoods, however with VOZ we’d like to see the potential of these replacement ad spots to be delivered via BVOD inventory,” he said.

“The other interesting thing we are monitoring is the BVOD Project. In theory it can help combat some of the current issues we experience when buying BVOD (i.e. a more robust frequency capping solution regardless of platform). 

“However, with only three commercial networks currently involved, the result remains the same and that’s a fragmented premium video buy for our clients.”

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