TV and online video measurement: the new world yardstick

By Lucy Carroll | 4 November 2015

This follows on from Part 1: The golden age of video or the death of TV? and first appeared in AdNews' print edition (2 October). Subscribe to AdNews in print, or get it now on iPad.

The challenges of the new world order have forced the industry to find ways to accurately capture increasingly scattered audiences and enable reporting across mutliple devices.

The migration to consuming content on mobile and tablet has pushed the major research players to launch new measurement tools, with Nielsen winning the IAB’s tender last year to provide much sought-after cross-platform digital audience measurement services.

Neilsen added mobile campaigns ratings from 1 October, and by mid-2016 the long-anticipated tool will see smartphone and tablet measurement pegged onto existing monthly desktop data, with numbers available daily. Agencies or advertisers that have tagged campaigns will be able to get figures that provide a next-day view of an ad’s online audience, comparable to TV measurement.

“We’re the second or third market in the world to have daily campaign measurement that also includes mobile,” says Monique Perry, head of Nielsen’s media industry group. “It’s of vital importance. There has been massive global investment in mobile so the next step for us is really understanding total audiences.”

The first report to be released by Nielsen and the IAB at the end of 2015 will initially be “top-line” data on monthly viewing habits on mobile websites or apps followed by a breakdown of reach, time spent on a page or site, number of page impressions and demographics.

“What the industry will be looking at is how that impacts total audiences, how much more usage will we see? Some people are consuming video on their desktop but many of them are solely using mobile,” Perry says.

While Perry predicts an overall “market level lift” of about 10% once mobile is measured, brands that are totally mobile led will see a much more significant lift and this will dramatically alter the current ratings for some publishers.

“The whole market is hanging out for individual site or app level data. Everyone wants that information,” she adds.

Director of research at IAB, Lisa Walsh, agrees that for some websites and apps, a lack of mobile tracking has meant audiences have been underestimated.

“For some publishers, more than 50% of traffic is from mobile devices. This will help fill out a massive missing piece for them,” Walsh says.

TV and catch-up content doesn’t fall under Nielsen’s radar but OzTAM will cover TV-specific data via a digital measurement tool also expected to launch in the next month.

“We’ve been collecting data for about a year now. As more and more broadcasters deploy the tag in their player, we’ve just been capturing it as we go,” OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer says.

The early stage will show information by device, time of day viewed, the program and duration on all catch-up sites including Plus7, 9jumpin, TENplay, SBS On Demand and ABC iView, with Foxtel Go soon to be added. Detailed demographic will be available in 2016.

“Certain programs will likely get a decent lift, but for total TV it will only be about 2%. Some programs will get a 10-15% boost, depending on the content,” Peiffer says.

With Australians watching about 90 hours of TV each month, and almost 90% of viewing on a traditional set, live viewing continues to dominate. Streaming platforms such as Netflix and Stan currently collect data internally – but have not indicated they want to be part of a
second-screen measure.

The chase to capture eyeballs means networks such as Nine have launched their own cross-platform tools, with the broadcaster introducing PARC in May to measure linear and catch-up audiences. It plans to switch to OzTAM’s when it launches. The tool looks at average audience volume at every moment of the online stream, effectively mimicking TV ratings.

“Clients were asking for data to complete the picture of how audiences are consuming our product, beyond the live broadcast,” says Steve Weaver, the group director of research and analytics at Nine. “This report is simply an interim measure that allows us to demonstrate the growing cross-platform consumption.”

But chief digital officer at Seven West Media, Clive Dickens, argues “self-serving” analytics are not in the best interest of the market because it’s “not a useful metric”.

All will be revealed within weeks as the market starts to have the cross-platform visibility it has been clamouring for.

This is the second in a three-part series on the television landscape. Next, AdNews will take a deep dive into all screen planning and convergence.

See here for Part 1: The golden age of video or the death of TV


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