Nielsen spokesman Ben Billingsley opened the meeting and stated that "Total audience is the framework for measuring audiences across platforms so that the data can be presented in comparable fashion from TV to digital on a like for like basis." Nielsen is currently working with clients who are reviewing their data from Total Audience.  Nielsen's presentation was based on blinded cuts of the data and the results were presented by Glenn Enoch, Senior Vice President Audience Insights.

Enoch explained that his presentation would give us "a sense for what kind of consumer insights can be gleaned from Total Audience and to demonstrate its full capabilities. Today, we are able to look at individual pieces of content and can see how consumers got to them whether live, time-shifted, via VOD (whether the same ad load or different or no ad load), on the PC or smartphone or tablet. Essentially, what is the mix of vectors the viewers use to get to the content?"

In a departure from the industry standards for measuring viewership plus 3 or 7 days, viewership to content in Total Audience will be counted into perpetuity enabling the ability to see how viewership changes over time, even years. The data presented at the breakfast reflected adults 18-49 in a mixture of both broadcast and cable individual programs. The data was collected into buckets of viewership source and was reported collectively and by genre.

Here are some of the takeaways:

  1. All programs experience lift above the Live plus 7 days delivery, although the degree of lift varies by genre -- some by as much as +50%.
  2. Programs that have more lift tend to get that lift later -- after day 35.
  3. Different platforms have different levels of lift. For example, DVR contribution tends to be more front-loaded. It delivers less and less lift as time goes on, based on the average of all networks included in the analysis.
  4. Programs with viewership after 35 days are tending to get lift from VOD on any device that is a source of VOD.
  5. The amount of lift and the type of platform used for viewing varies by program genre over time:
  • Reality competition shows have the least amount of lift over time because of the timeliness of the content. "Most to all viewing is done upfront, within first week," Enoch said. "All viewing is done in the first month and it affects the vector that people do to get to the show," he added. Most viewing is either Live or DVR while only 7% of viewing to reality competition is on VOD.
  • Serial dramas have the second lowest amount of lift, followed by episodic dramas such as crime shows that are more standalone in terms of story line and can be viewed out of order. 76% of all viewing of serial dramas takes place in the first week indicating that viewers want to see one episode before the next one airs, while with episodic dramas 39% of all consumption is after day 7.
  • Sitcoms tend to experience similar lift to episodics but the viewing vectors have a more equal distribution of DVR and VOD.
  • Adult animated comedies experience the greatest amount of lift over time in this analysis and more than half of the viewing is using library content on VOD.
  1. The method of viewing changes as distance from original air grows, shifting from Live and DVR to more VOD and digital.
  2. Viewers will watch longer when they are viewing on demand.  For two hour-long programs, viewing time was up from 15-20 mins on average for live viewing to over 30 mins for on-demand viewing. (Total content duration was about 45 minutes because ads are not measured.) The presumption as to why this is, is that "Live viewing is more fluid," Enoch offerd, "while with VOD, one chooses to view that program."
  3. On demand audiences tend to be younger.
  4. Online viewing length is longer than live and are younger than live.
  5. A larger percentage of TV content viewing is consumed on larger screens, not on smaller screens. Tablets, for example, "are designed for shorter term consumption," Enoch explained.

"This data enables our clients and the industry to understand how audiences build across time," said Kelly Abcarian, Senior Vice President of Product Leadership at Nielsen. "So the networks and the broadcasters and the content owners can have more firepower to talk about how their audience looks across time so they can better position and plan and sell that out to advertisers."

Next steps: Nielsen will be releasing the ability for clients to look at source of consumption on connected devices such as Amazon, Roku, Chromecast, Xbox etc.  There is an increasing use of connected devices that are displacing traditional TV happening in homes with SVOD content. Stay tuned.

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