Nine jumps in ahead of OzTAM with cross-platform TV metric

James McGrath
By James McGrath | 11 May 2015

Nine has developed a new metric for reporting online content audiences in line with TV measurement, potentially stealing a march on its competitors in selling its next big shows.

It is in market talking about the Platform Agnostic Ratings for Content (PARC) tool, a unit of measurement meant to harmonise TV and online audience numbers ahead of a metric currently being devised by OzTAM, to be delivered in the second half of this year.

Currently, Nine said, audiences for online streams of TV content are being measured by how many people started watching a stream rather than the average number of people that watched the stream.

For example, 100,000 people may start watching a stream of The Block, but the minute-by-minute average of that stream may only be 20,000 to 30,000.

Nine said in a statement that measuring by stream start was the current norm.

“The current method of quoting stream starts as a metric of measuring long-form video is in no way reflective of how TV is measured,” it said.

Measuring on a minute-by-minute average brings its  online video data into line with OzTAM measurement for broadcast TV -- giving advertisers a common metric to work from.

Nine's group director of research and analytics Steve Weaver told AdNews that it was a sales tool rather than a direct measurement tool.

“That mid-stream inventory will still be sold against impressions, so from that perspective there's no change there,” he said.

“The real beauty of it that it allows our sales teams to go out there and sell on a common metric, so we can negotiate packages that extend into online catch up inventory.”

He also said the new reporting tool was a direct result of Nine Entertainment Company taking control of Mi9, which was formerly a joint venture between Nine and Microsoft.

“The reason it took so long ... basically when Nine took over Mi9 we brought TV thinking to the organisation. We immediately started thinking about how to compare apples to apples on that front,” Weaver said.

Nine said it had delivered the new system after agencies had cried out for a common measurement system.

“As content is increasingly consumed across multiple touch points we need to measure audiences across the entire life cycle of the content journey – live broadcast, encores, playback, and online long and short-form,” Nine sales director Peter Wiltshire said.

“As a cross-platform media owner we have wanted this data for quite a while, and our agency partners have been crying out for it. PARC is the solution we have built while we wait for an industry-delivered currency.”

Using the new metric, Nine will be able to shop around a Total Viewer Exposure Number (TVEN).

For example, a broadcast of House Husbands will bring in an overnight rating of 889,622. Nine will now be able to say that the TVEN is 1.27 million, accounting for the online number which will now be counted in the same way as the overnight figure.

Weaver said the new metric would give Nine a sales advantage, and that it was in market with “quite a number of shows using the new metric”.

He said it was now incumbent on Seven and Ten to up their game.

“I think we're potentially getting in ahead of those guys, so it would seem to be [throwing down the gauntlet],” Weaver said.

Nine said it would be an interim measure until OzTAM releases its cross-platform metric to the market. Weaver said the TVEN would remain, but the OzTAM measurement would be woven into it.

OzTAM, which collects the overnight figures, has been hard at work with the networks to deliver code into their back-end which would allow OzTAM to compile overnight data from the catch-up services.

It is believed that the networks are already receiving census-level data on catch-up services, with the numbers currently being verified by auditors before the product goes live in the second half of this year.

With a unified measurement system for catch-up in place, networks will be hoping to make even more catch-up inventory available.

Comment is being sought from Seven and Ten.

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