As advanced TV… well, advances … each week brings a batch of announcements about partnerships and new and enhanced solutions in this sector.
While it’s not possible or desirable to cover all of these, it seems worth highlighting some of the most notable here on occasion, given that evolving technologies and capabilities — and intensified competition among vendors as well as publishers — are so integral to this still-nascent business.
This week is such an occasion. One reason is that it brought more significant news on the ATV measurement front: Nielsen’s extension of its Subscription Video on Demand Content Ratings solution to Amazon Prime Video.
Nielsen launched SVOD ratings two years ago for NBCUniversal, Disney-ABC, A+E Networks, Lionsgate and other broadcast clients that wanted to be able to quantify their streaming content viewership. Last year, Nielsen added Netflix to the SVOD measurement program.
The data come from a segment of Nielsen’s national TV panel who have connected TVs or smart devices and are willing to have their SVOD viewing time tracked. (Nielsen hasn't disclosed much else about them.)
Connected TV and smart devices represent about 75% of all video stream viewing in the U.S.
Netflix has questioned Nielsen's SVOD results, in part because they don’t include streams from mobile devices or PCs. But some say that even the mobile source isn’t that significant yet, and suggest that Nielsen’s numbers are likely pretty accurate. (For instance, they confirmed Netflix’s viewership claims about its movie “Bird Box,” Variety reported in January.)
And at this point, any new insights into SVOD users are welcome, given that Amazon and other SVODs rarely release viewership data. According to Nielsen, clients will have access to their own content data and the content data for competitive media content, including streamed, live, content-shifted and video-on-demand.
“This is a significant milestone for Nielsen, especially considering the upcoming high-profile streaming service launches,” Nielsen’s SVP of Product Leadership, Brian Fuhrer, summed up in the announcement. “We think the addition of Amazon Prime Video will allow rights owners an added ability to understand both the size, as well as the composition, of their streaming audiences relative to other platforms or programs.”
James Petretti, SVP of global production and U.S research at Sony Pictures Television, said the Nielsen data will allow the studio to understand how programs perform on ad-supported OTT and on-demand TV and what audiences they attract, as well as analyze how linear TV ads drive audiences to programs on paid streaming services.
“I see this as a long-term play by Amazon to change the way advertisers view them as a player in the video landscape,” says Dave Morgan, president of Simulmedia. “Showing its viewership numbers on the ad-free Prime Video platform can help Amazon demonstrate the scale it’s building relative to ad-supported video, including TV. And that can only help sales of OTT ads for their ad-supported Fire TV and IMDb platforms.”
Interestingly, back in 2017, Nielsen was talking about adding Hulu, as well as Amazon, to the SVOD Content Ratings...
In other measurement news this week, CTV/OTT ad platform Premion announced that its OTT offering -- including individual-level reach, co-viewing insights and demographics -- will be measured by Comscore’s cross-platform video campaign ratings tool.
There was also some significant news on the OTT platform front, as Roku -- which had 30.5 million active accounts as of June -- announced its acquisition of demand-side platform Dataxu for $150 million in cash and stock.
Dataxu provides marketers with an automated bidding, self-serve platform for managing advertising campaigns programmatically across digital platforms.
The acquisition is designed to position Roku — which had more than 30.5 million active accounts as of June — as a more full-service platform that can better compete with other major OTT platforms, including The Trade Desk and Amazon Fire TV, with 34 million users and its own DSP.
Amazon Fire TV recently began letting video publishers sell advertising through Dataxu and The Trade Desk , as well as its own DSP.
On the evolving privacy front, the connected-TV data-management/targeting platform Tru Optik announced that it will roll out a free privacy-compliance solution for CTV and advanced TV in beta in the fourth quarter, and make it generally available in 2020.
Called Privacy.TV, it will allow OTT publishers, ad tech platforms, data providers and device manufacturers to offer OTT users opt-out and data transparency
capabilities, including a disclosure statement and the ability to correct their profiles, according to Tru Optik.
Why offer this free? “The biggest threat to the growth of audience targeting across connected TV is from publishers, device ad networks, ad tech platforms or brands misusing data or not being able to provide the transparency and privacy control options consumers need,” Tru Optik CEO Andre Swanston tells ATV Insider. “Lack of privacy controls increase the odds of onerous legislation that can hurt the entire industry, including us.”