VOZ looking for 'critical mass' of media agencies

Jason Pollock
By Jason Pollock | 7 March 2024
Kevin Dillon

The transition to VOZ data currency will only happen when media agencies and broadcasters agree they are ready to transact on the platform, according to OzTAM director of industry development Kevin Dillon. 

He told AdNews a 2024 rollout of VOZ, the television industry's official source of audience measurement, is still on track. 

Media agencies recently sounded off on VOZ's ability to be used as trading currency, saying that there are still a number of problems that need to be tackled before they will transfer away from using OzTAM data. 

“There needs to be a critical mass of media agencies and broadcasters who have agreed that they're ready to roll and that's a little bit beyond our control, but nonetheless, we're working to be the biggest catalyst that we can in the whole process,” Dillon said.

He says the coming months will see OzTAM continue to work with broadcasters, software analysis companies, media auditors and media agencies to ensure the tools to work with VOZ data - provided by third-party software suppliers (TPSS) - are certified and available.

OzTAM will also assist integrations of VOZ data and tools into agency systems and workflows; educate the broader market on VOZ methodology, capabilities, and trend break management; and support agency and other data users in their change management activities, their working with the data and see VOZ in action.

Dillon said OzTAM and the MFA (Media Federation of Australia) have also been working collaboratively for close to two years to ensure the VOZ design and roll out meet media agencies’ needs and to provide a period for them to work with their clients to transition to VOZ.

“This process also recognises that some agencies will move faster than others," he said.

One long-time sticking point for media agencies that’s slowed take-up of VOZ as a trading currency relates to a lack of Gold Standard accreditation.

Justin Arlt, Wavemaker's national head of marketplace trading, said the agency will continue to use TAM as its trading currency until Gold Standard accreditation is achieved.

Dillon says it’s the TPSS building the analytical software needed to process the complex and detailed VOZ dataset that achieves Gold Standard accreditation, rather than VOZ’s data.

“Broadcast M.A.P, day8, Landsberry & James A Nielsen Company and techedge are all in the process of getting their respective suites gold standard accredited. Some of them already have particular aspects of that suite gold standard accredited,” he said.

“We're pretty confident knowing what we know about the TPSS that in a March to April timeframe, most if not all of them will have their suites accredited.”

Another problem raised by media agencies relates to VOZ's perceived limitations in only including data from linear TV and broadcast video on demand (BVOD) and not (yet) capturing the streaming video on demand (SVOD) numbers too.

OMD's national head of strategic investment and partnerships Jane Combes said that VOZ not including all the major players in the connected TV ecosystem means that the data will need to be viewed in conjunction with complementary information as part of a total screens’ strategy.

Dillon said that although VOZ doesn’t include SVOD or YouTube, the underlying technology has been designed to evolve and is technically capable of measuring all video platforms.

“Our board has gone on record as saying that OzTAM welcomes participation of other video services that commit to the same principles of transparency, rigour, accountability, standard terms and definitions, openness and broad industry oversight encapsulated in OzTAM’s measurement principles,” Dillon said.

“We're also collaborating with other media industry bodies as well, not just other publishers; we recently announced an integration to fuse OzTAM VPM data for BVOD viewing with the IAB’s Ipsos iris currency measurement service.”

With Foxtel's proposed measurement system with VideoAmp looming on the horizon - a breakaway currency that captures viewing data from solely across Foxtel services - Dillon says the industry has clearly indicated the importance of one currency service to measure total TV and that is what OzTAM provides.

“OzTAM’s single-source-of-truth, fully-representative people-based measurement underwrites the trust brands and media buyers continue to place in broadcasters’ audience delivery,” he said.

“That does not preclude data users from deploying their first-party data alongside OzTAM data to inform content and advertising strategy and distinguish their respective offers in the marketplace - as highlighted last year in the various broadcaster Upfront presentations.

“This practice is also common in other markets internationally.”

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