In these fast-moving times of cross-platform all-you-can-eat media, fragmentation is a mess. We are, of course, continually trying to identify meaningful trends, work out how to keep abreast of
them and how not to be distracted by things that ultimately are nothing more than bright shiny objects.
Welcome to the world of modern media.
Modern, yes, but, curiously, although we’ve been quick to adopt emerging media and new terminology in certain aspects of the media business, there are some terms that have been with us for years. And they aren’t necessarily quite as fit for purpose as they once were.
One of these is “TV Households." Once, it was perfectly clear that a TV Household would be a household with access to a working TV. Now, the trend toward thinking in terms of video consumption across all platforms, capable of delivering it rather than being constrained to the historic model of passive viewing of scheduled television broadcasts, has called the usefulness of that definition into question.
It’s not that the definition has become wrong, simply that it doesn’t encompass the array of viewing behaviors that advertisers, agencies and media owners are keen to understand and leverage.
Logically then, the definition could be expected to move toward some kind of definition of a Video Household. This will only be supported if measurement of enough households can be equally comprehensive across at least the three leading video platforms of TV, online and mobile phone. (And ideally tablet, but we’ll have to see about that one.)
Within each of those platforms, there are subsets of video viewing to be considered from Live (scheduled) TV, DVR, VOD, DVD, streaming, short clips, full length programming etc. and all by device, time of day, household member, along with all the other variables one can think of. Such a scenario seems to point inevitably not only to the notion of a Video Household definition, but also a degree of Video Household segmentation.
I strongly believe this is a logical development of the current scenario. The industry has to get the best understanding possible of video consumption in the home.
But that’s just the start of things.
This kind of approach will ultimately be just as important for understanding the consumption of Radio – or Audio Households – Print – or Text Households – and so on if we are to gain true cross-platform insights to inform everything from content development and distribution through ad inventory development and media buying. It is all in the service of reaching the right people with the right message via the right media at the right time.
It sounds complicated, but while the process of defining it and delivering it may be just that, the results will simplify and modernize the way the media industry address cross-platform media consumption and engagement.