Commentary

The Royal Wedding, Viewed Everywhere

According to Paul Lindstrom, head of research and analytics, Tunity,  no matter where you were on May 19, 2018 at 6 a.m., you could have been watching the royal wedding. Data from the Tunity app, which captures opt-in out of home audio, revealed that people made a special effort to view the wedding even if they were not home at the time.

Charlene Weisler: What data do you have that represents out-of-home viewing for the royal wedding?

Paul Lindstrom: I was interested in seeing [how] the royal wedding impacted overall OOH usage in locations like gyms, restaurants, offices, etc. Total OOH usage as measured by Tunity for May 19 from 6 a.m.to 9 a.m. indexed at 249, versus [lower] usage for the same period from the previous week, indicating [consumers made] a special effort to view.

I next looked at viewing of individual networks carrying the event. While the overall usage gain was impressive, the individual networks were even more so. CBS indexed at 867, NBC at 721, ABC at 680, and CNN at 303. PBS and BBC America were not included in this measurement. In total, the royal wedding had 86% of the total OOH audience 6 a.m. to 9 a.m. Audience for all of the networks peaked at approximately 7:45 am.

Weisler: How was this data collected and parsed?

Lindstrom: The data was collected using data from Tunity’s app, which allows users to scan a linear channel appearing on a video screen in an OOH location and subsequently stream the audio signal. The video scanning allows us to see tuning to sets that are muted and those in areas with ambient noise (which is most crowded locations).

This cannot be done using audio techniques, which count viewing to these channels as if it did not exist (which with audio it does not).… Minutes are averaged to provide average daypart and program audiences.

Weisler: What conclusions are you getting from this data?

Lindstrom: I have concluded that OOH should be looked at as separate from and not merely an extension of the in-home audience.  In an in-home environment, whether in your own home or a guest in someone else’s, there may be hundreds of channels available… In an OOH environment, the channels that are available to be viewed are limited and curated by the venue [and] will get much larger shares than they would have in-home.

In some ways the viewing environment is similar to in-home when I first started with Nielsen. There was limited channel selection (three networks, maybe an independent and PBS) and cable was perhaps 25%. The three network share in prime time was 90.

No one would think to look at in-home viewing today and use it to predict what in-home viewing was like when I began. In the same way, no one should look at in-home usage today and try and figure out what is going on OOH.

It is not surprising that big events like the royal wedding could pull such big shares. We see that it is not uncommon at all for major sporting events such as the NBA Playoffs to garner greater than 50% of the OOH viewing for the time they are on. I think that there is a need for a new paradigm for usage in OOH locations.

This all also becomes more complicated because In-home, we are able to physically change channels and this is currently measured in a variety of existing ways. In a multi-screen OOH environment, however, we change channels by moving our heads and shifting our focus and attention. Any measurement of OOH video usage needs to be able to differentiate between what you can hear and what you choose to watch. Attention needs to be a part of any OOH metric.

Lastly, more than half of the OOH viewing that occurs is with muted TV.  Often in a location, there are multiple TVs showing different channels and, at most, one of these will have sound….If viewing is picked up using audio methods then 65% of the time it would be to the wrong source or difficulties picking up the signal where there is significant ambient noise.

It is not surprising when more than half of the tuning is missed with current audio methods. OOH viewing of linear channels is currently unreported or severely underreported. Many researchers feel if something is not measured it does not exist.

Weisler: How did the royal wedding performance out-of-home compare to other programs you have monitored like sports?

Lindstrom: Events like the royal wedding are special occasions. They not only draw substantial interest but they are available on multiple channels.  It is unlikely that there would have been very many locations that were open that would not have been showing at least one of the channels.… As a rough point of comparison, the wedding did approximately the same size audience as the NBA Semi-Final Playoff games and did it at 6-9 in the morning, which is when a sizable portion of the potential sets were in locations that had not yet opened. It was impressive to me.

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