Netflix “novelty” factor not eroding TV audiences: OzTam

Rachael Micallef
By Rachael Micallef | 10 September 2015

The death knell hasn't sounded for the TV landscape according to OzTam CEO Doug Peiffer who said the market “hasn't changed that much” since the launch of over the top services.

Speaking at yesterday's ASTRA conference, Peiffer said viewing habits by consumers might be interrupted in the short term by the launch of services such as Netflix, but said once the novelty factor wanes, viewing habits come back up to normal.

His opinion is based on a test conducted by the television measurement company on 400 households that it keeps off to the side and aren't counted by TV ratings and are primarily used in experiments.

Peiffer said several years ago, to gauge the impact of tablets on television viewing, OzTam gave several tablets to the households and “let them go.”

“We saw a decline in viewing and then we saw them come back after the novelty wore off. It usually ended up with one person in the house owning that device,” Peiffer said.

“We recently gave 60 households Stan, Netflix and Presto.”

“And guess what? We saw the novelty factor go in, they were downloading everything, looking at all different pieces of content, it impacted their viewing and then it went almost back up to normal.”

Peiffer was on a panel with Nielsen head of media industry group Monique Perry and Multi Channel Network insights and analytics director Murray Love discussing the future of measurement in the television industry.

OzTam is currently looking to develop a metric which would take into account viewers watching shows on catch up services.

Nielsen is also developing a cross-platform measurement service under a contract by the IAB, with Perry confirming it is “weeks away”.

But Peiffer reiterated that the advent of cross-device measurement isn't the “game-changer” the industry thinks it is, in terms of shaking up audience numbers.

“It's not as big as what we think - it's a few percent of the audience so its not dramatically shifting,” Peiffer said. “Over time that may change but we haven’t seen it drop that quick.”

“Netflix for me is like a video store. I don't have a video store in my neighbourhood any more – it's closed – but if you have an OTT service in your house you might watch television a little more.

“Remember when you went to the video store and you'd get a movie and wouldn't watch it? Well you might find another one there [streaming] so we think that is impacting on some of the ratings as but its replacing some of the DVD usage as well.”

Perry pointed to the Nielsen and OzTam multi-screen report released last week which showed the majority of video viewing still occurs on traditional television screens.

“Certainly it's consistent with what we’re seeing in the US market,” Perry said.

“Even in market that has had Netflix for a while it's still only 10% of Netflix and other video on demand services compared to the total TV viewing. So it's still a small number compared to just how much consumers are viewing.”

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