Our industry has long debated ‘fixing the measurement’, after all if you can measure it, you can manage it.
The pandemic has shifted viewer behaviour far more dynamically than traditional panel based measurement has been able to keep pace with. As the audience fragments and the slices of the audience pie get smaller, panel extrapolation becomes less representative and less robust across all screens. As scale decreases for linear broadcasters, are the blunt instruments of traditional demographic groups still as relevant in the age of the algorithm, with its precision targeting capabilities for both ends of the marketing funnel?
Traditional panel measurement is becoming more difficult and expensive, from basic limitations of not being able to get into panellists homes during Lockdown, to rolling out more sophisticated focal meters. Traditional measurement companies have a tougher time justifying their costs, let alone getting more investment to stay ahead. As demonstrated by the current spat with Nielsen in the US, the smart money’s invested in advanced analytics tools. At the same time a dizzying array of walled garden data silos make the job of advertisers and broadcasters more difficult, not only within companies but across the industry. Who owns the data? Is it privacy safe? Is holistic insight sitting with your Research or Data Science team? Devices are being used as a proxy for people which brings deduplication challenges, let alone fraud. Internal data lakes can become data swamps, with multiple data sources some may say ‘throw everything in so people can choose what they want’. However without refinement the road to standardisation becomes more difficult. Ultimately it boils down to who is watching what, as it always has, but how?
Conversely broadcasters’ new direct relationship with their audiences allows for potentially richer data for those willing to try and smash the data silos. Broadcasters moving into direct-to-consumer streaming models are busy building scale, learning subscriber management, adopting generous measures like ‘content starts’ or ‘viewed hours’, good for justifying growth but not always so specific for advertising. This will become more prevalent as scale rebalances from linear to digital over time, to the point where digital native advertisers can marry their own data to that of streaming services. Fundamentally the old rules remain, content is still queen. Understanding who is watching what on your streaming service, in terms of content, will allow you to address issues. From repeat factors, recommendation and promotion success rates, through to quality of service, technology now allows greater insight and allows digital dynamism.
With an endless array of options, building one solution to follow seems sensible, as happened in Japan, where the bigger broadcasters aligned on the fundamentals rather than each reinventing the wheel. They chose Streamhub as a common integration hub for disparate data sources with improved insight and visualisation. Their seamless analytics and activation of the Tokyo Olympics proved the concept. Agile tools with nimble development teams like Streamhub give broadcasters fast first hand insight into managing their viewers’ experience, from better serving them content they love, to understanding which ads they are viewing, or why they are leaving you. Whilst our industry’s frustrated journey to consensus on measurement continues, it’s time to focus on your own slice of the action too. Why not use a pre existing platform we can all agree on? Get in touch