This is the fifth in a series of articles on the various data solutions for television measurement being offered by data companies in the industry. In Parts One through Four, participants answered questions regarding their data business model and on their data attributes. Now in Part Five we explore some of the challenges to the television data measurement business.
(Be sure to read Part One, in which participants describe their companies’ services; Part Two, in which they reveal their plans to market and integrate the data into television analytics; Part Three, in which we asked participants about their client lists -- who in the television sector is using their current services, and Part Four, in which we asked exactly what their data can do?)
My Take: Entrenched attitudes are, in my opinion, the biggest hurdle to overcoming the shortcomings of television measurement. As long as we continue to forecast on current metrics, change will be slow and painful. Yet, the fragmentation of the television environment and the looming prospect of programmatic TV may push us to change faster, finding and agreeing to solutions to current challenges. The demands of the marketplace might be the engine of needed change sooner than later.
Question 5: What are some of the challenges you see in the television measurement world today? How can these challenges be solved?
Bill Feininger, President, FourthWall Media: Television audience measurement today is measured by panels that determine the total audience. As the industry moves to one-to-one marketing, small representatives are challenged to serve this changing world. Measuring every household and eventually every individual is essential in providing marketers and advertisers that direct connection to consumers, so set top box measurement is a step along the way to providing the industry the breadth of data that is necessary.
Frank Foster, Senior Vice President, General Manager, TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA): Sample size is the clearest change that needs to be made to make TV measurement more effective. The proliferation of both distribution channels and content means we have to reevaluate the way we count viewers. To compound basic measurement challenges, advertisers are demanding the audience targeting and outcome based metrics they’ve grown accustomed to in digital. The current sample sizes need to increase by two orders of magnitude to account for these new behaviors and give advertisers the behavioral and psychographic information they need. A bigger sample size necessitates single-source data on a massive scale for advertisers to determine cross-platform media mix and creative effectiveness. Linking data from these disparate sources will continue to be a challenge.
Mainak Mazumdar, Chief Science Officer, Simulmedia: Challenges: Small sample sizes trying to measure the increasingly fragmented TV viewing landscape. Long-tail is not measured. OTT is excluded. Standard TV media metrics (GRPs and target demos) do not correlate to ROI, the metric that marketers are really most interested in. There is also a lack of innovation in incorporating census level data (e.g. STB) with panels. Potential solution: While reach is important, measurement should focus on ROI and sales impact of TV ads -- the metric that really drives a marketer’s business. Data is now making this possible in the world of TV. Expand measurement footprint by incorporating STB and OTT into standard measurement methods.
Charles Buchwalter, President and CEO, Symphony Advanced Media: Today’s single biggest market issue is that the significant developments in viewing media beyond Live+7 are not being tracked by an objective, third party firm. The Symphony Advanced Media VideoPulse offering not only tracks Live, DVR to 7 days, and VOD to 3 days for all programs/episodes in the US, but also tracks OTT, DVR beyond 7 days and VOD beyond 3 days.
Kelly Abcarian, Senior Vice President, Watch Product Architecture, Nielsen: Consumer choice is driving how content is viewed and it is fundamentally changing the business of TV, advertising and measurement. Rapid technological change has forever altered the way that content is distributed and consumed, creating new challenges for measuring audiences across new platforms and screens. It is quite clear that our clients are rethinking the way they access and use data. As they collect terabytes of information on their customers, they want a way to connect the dots between what they know about a customer (and potential customer) to what other companies know; and they want a clear way to engage with each person in the right way and at the right time. Our Total Audience framework represents the next step in the evolution of TV ratings by reporting the total audience -- across digital and linear -- for a TV program or ad campaign in a consistent and comparable way. As has always been the case, the industry can choose how to transact business, based on the flexibility that comprehensive, Total Audience measurement allows. In addition to total “ratings” -- audiences by age/gender -- we are also enabling analytics across the thousands of audience segments that are available in the audience-based, programmatic ecosystem. This is where our acquisition of eXelate enables us to tie together Nielsen’s media consumption data together with eXelate’s audience data (over 10,000 segments) to provide unparalleled consumer insights for an audience-based world.
Eric Schmitt, Executive Vice President, Communications, TV and Media, Allant: Advertisers are shifting dollars to more precise audience-based buying techniques, but measurement is lagging. A principal challenge is the verification of deduplicated segment-level campaign reach/frequency across media and platforms. Related challenges include the need for more automated proposal and execution processes (shorter cycle times), the normalization of segment definitions across TV and online and an advertiser’s ability to scale advanced ad techniques across multiple ad sellers and inventory types. The Audience Interconnect® solves these challenges by providing a system of record for audience segments (household level counts in seconds, not days), coupled to cross-media campaign execution (national and spot linear, addressable, VOD and online) and standardized impressions measurement and projections on the back end.
Cathy Hetzel, Rentrak Corporate President: Rentrak is very excited about the business climate over the next several years. We see cross-platform measurement as the opportunity ahead. While today we are able to measure multiple platforms, we are working hard toward providing cross-platform intelligence including unduplicated reach and frequency using new data sources to connect the dots. Rentrak is at the center of these advanced advertising models and is the only company prepared to measure TV Everywhere at the required scale. We see international expansion as a key opportunity for growth. We believe the regulatory environment is favorable for creating jobs and supporting local content and only with census-based measurement can long-tail networks exist profitably. We highly value consumer privacy and have developed privacy compliant methods to create targets from aggregated anonymous data that are needed to drive advertising models. The days of the not-for-profit Joint Industry Group (JIG) are over as MVPDs should earn revenue for contributing their data for industry.
Joan FitzGerald, Senior Vice President, Television and Cross Media Service, comScore: The most pressing challenge in the television measurement world today is that television viewing has “escaped” the television set and needs to be measured across all platforms -- MVPD, DVR, SVOD and devices such as smartphones, tablets and OTT. comScore recently introduced Xmedia, which is the industry’s first syndicated measurement of combined TV and digital audiences. We created Xmedia because our clients have told us that they need solutions now that will help them measure the complexities that come along with the ever-changing way that people are consuming content thanks to the digital world. With better data and technology, linear TV along with Total Video in all of its forms can be measured for the benefit of both buyers and sellers.
Leslie Wood, Nielsen Catalina Solutions: This is a question that someone at Nielsen should answer. They work on this all the time. Because I am focused on the effects of advertising, I don’t need a total audience number. The industry knows we are missing pieces. I am less concerned because I look at consumer groups for a product or a category. The world is changing incredibly quickly. There are new ways of consuming media. How do we define TV? If you see a program on the internet is it TV or is it digital? I leave that to others and take the benefit from what they have done.
Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com or at WeislerMedia@yahoo.com. Full disclosure: Charlene hosts a street art blog on The Starry Eye blog community
Read all Charlene's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Charlene Weisler.
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