Q&A With Kantar Media's George Shababb
This week we interview George Shababb, President of Kantar Media (formerly known as TNS Media Research NA), one of the largest audience measurement companies in the world and one of the pioneers in the measurement of set-top-box data. George shares his insights into the global and national aspects of Kantar Media Research and the future of local media. He also offers an extensive analysis of the methodology, the application, the current challenges and the overall future of set-top-box data.
Below is a short excerpt from the interview. Direct links to the full interview videos can be found at http://weislermedia.blogspot.com/2010/02/q-interview-with-george-shababb.htm
CW: You mentioned that set-top-box data does not have to have a full census in order to measure accurately. If that's so, how are we best able to decide what sample best replicates usage?
GS: I think that the way that we (at Kantar Media Research) would approach it is to look at the networks at the tail end of the long tail, if you will, and to define what would be acceptable error ranges for those smaller networks. We are talking about networks that generate whole day averages of 0.1, maybe even less than that. And once you define what is an acceptable level of error for those long-tail networks, you are by definition creating a sample size that will give you even more reliability as you move to the larger networks.
CW: You spoke of second by second (set-top-box) measurement. How would you handle issues such as latency and dwell time? Do you think that second by second would be rolled up, or do you feel that second by second does the job?
GS: I think that second by second does do the job. We are working with 5 second dwell times now. I think it becomes an issue if we get to formats that are less than 5 seconds where we might actually miss some content.
And I think what is important to remember is that when the box has been tuned for 5 seconds or more, we go back to the first seconds so we never miss any of the tuning information - [a feature in our] DIRECTView service.
With regard to latency, we have done some work on it, not enough admittedly, but we have seen consistentcy, particularly in the satellite systems in terms of latency from box to box. In fact one of the things we recommended as part of our response to the CIMM RFI is that the industry undertake some research to better understand the variability of latency and the potential impact it has on measurement
CW: You mentioned something about the challenge of creating a set-top-box business that is affordable and yet profitable. Do you have any ideas how this can be achieved?
GS: We are currently running profitable services as we speak. I think the economic model varies depending what the application is. But we have been able to structure agreements with our set-top partners where they share in the financials and derive a financial benefit, and we as an organization are able to also benefit financially as well. I think, importantly, we are able to do it with services that we feel are affordable to the industry. ..
CW: We spoke of how Kantar Media is an international measurement company. In terms of U.S. measurement, what do you see as the issue with privacy? Is it an issue with consumers -- and if so, how do we overcome it?
GS: I do think that consumer privacy is an issue that the industry needs to be concerned with. I think that in order for there to be broadscale availability of set-top-box data across a lot of TV operators, pay TV operators, we need to address consumer privacy issues. I think they can be addressed through efforts to educate the consumer on the benefits of measurement and what it means to the public in terms of consuming TV advertising, particularly addressable. And second, I also think that education has to extend into the government as well....