Necessity Is The Mother Of New TV Ratings, Seeks To Shed Light On Dark Continent

As far as tent-pole television events go, there is only one that can compare globally with the U.S. market's Super Bowl. That's the FIFA World Cup, of course. Now imagine a marketplace with an audience as big as the U.S., but with no -- or at best a crude surrogate for -- TV ratings to base advertising rates on. That's what most of sub-Saharan Africa has historically represented with the international soccer tournament that took place, but this year a new, ingenious audience measurement system will be measuring what had previously been a humongous audience -- more than 300 million Africans residing in five countries -- all in real-time.

The company, GeoPoll, has essentially turned the mobile phones of African TV viewers into an electronic TV viewing "diary," enabling fans to provide key demographic and viewing data, which while still crude by the standards of TV ratings in more developed markets, represents a potential breakthrough for measuring the audience value in rapidly growing markets, including Ghana, Kenya, Nigeria, Tanzania and Uganda.



All data is accessed through an easy-to-use interface that updates data overnight, 365 days a year, and reported to advertisers, agencies and TV operators in half-hour time blocks. (A companion audience ratings service for radio reports it in two-hour increments).

“Because we connect ot people, rather than households, we’re about to blow up the media measurement market in Africa,” boasts Steve Gutterman, CEO of GeoPoll, adding: “We’re about to dramatically change the media measurement market in Africa,” which he claims had previously relied on methods that were latent, slow, and had limited coverage.

2 comments about "Necessity Is The Mother Of New TV Ratings, Seeks To Shed Light On Dark Continent".
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  1. Nicholas Schiavone from Nicholas P. Schiavone, LLC, June 5, 2014 at 11:25 a.m.

    If Necessity is the Mother of Research Invention, then Representative Sampling is the Father of Projectable TV Ratings.
    Before one can celebrate WHAT GeoPoll is doing, one must know HOW it is being done.
    Mobile Phones and Large Numbers are only phones and numbers, but no more.
    A truly scientific media measurement methodology will employ a survey design that enables the researcher to project accurately and reliability from an adequate sample -- unless one is conducting a census.
    Complexity ought not yield to simplistic, ersatz research methodology.
    Let's hear more so a sound judgment can be rendered on this experiment.
    Only then will we know if we can scream "GOAL" or if a "Red Card" is in order.

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, June 6, 2014 at 7:38 a.m.

    Mr. Schiavone makes some excellent points about the standards for quality research -- especially in the developed world, and most especially in the U.S. TV advertising marketplace. I am a journalist and not a researcher and don't have the technical skills to evaluate the quality of those methods, but I know that the team at GeoPoll are eager to work with the best minds in the industry to improve their process and get them up to developed market standards, if not global ones. But one key point that may not have been explicit in the story is the fact that there currently are little if any standards like this in these markets, and it is hurting the development of a TV advertising marketplace -- which is especially striking when a tentpole event like the World Cup comes along. GeoPoll's solution is a pragmatic, first-step toward developing something, and I think it should be thought up more in the "lean start-up" mindset of developing a "minimally viable" product that can be improved upon with direct customer feedback. In my opinion, that's the stage they are at -- they have something that is minimally viable in a market that hasn't had anything viable before. It's up to them and the people they work with to improve upon it. Lastly, I think it is great that there are high standards in the developed world, but maybe it's time to use a more pragmatic approach in places where they do not exist, you know, "Don't let perfect be the enemy of good -- enough."

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