This Crisis Will Accelerate Change In Cross-Platform TV/Premium Video Measurement

At CIMM’s recent Cross-Platform Video Measurement & Data Summit -- which was just two months ago, but now seems like a lifetime away -- attendees heard about significant advancements made in areas ranging from deduplicating reach to attribution to measurement of addressable advertising.

The progress made in these areas is impressive, but as always in an industry that wants more faster, there is still a desire for further advancements and change. That will happen, but perhaps not in the ways we expected.  

A crisis -- especially one on the unprecedented scale we are now facing -- always accelerates change. And the dramatic shifts we are seeing in viewing behavior and the efforts being made by buyer and seller alike to understand them will force a reconsideration of how quickly we need cross-platform measurement tools  that are now made possible by the highly granular and sophisticated data and measurement systems available to us. 



As the agenda at our Summit evidenced, the focus of the industry entering into this crisis, appropriately, was on using data for optimization and ROI. 

That will still be a core concern when the COVID-19 crisis ends, but as advertisers and media sellers are now finding, granular data and measurement is helping in a different way. And that is in helping to identify and navigate the dramatic shifts in viewing behavior that are occurring.

This focus is leading to consideration of TV/premium video consumption -- not just in a cross-platform way but in a “uni-platform” way.

Certainly, buyers and sellers were already moving full steam ahead with a focus on audience-based buying or impressions-based buying in a manner that made consideration of the platform and the audience it could deliver predominant.

But this was a focus on finding target impressions from a lot of linear TV, as well as a little bit of digital, VOD and addressable TV, and streaming or OTT. It was an amalgamation of platforms. 

Now, with the total disruption of some foundational elements of TV and video -- namely sports and all live events -- advertisers are not just looking for “impressions,” but for entire categories of viewers.  

This need to comprehensively reconsider the behavior of viewers based on highly granular data is forcing a realization and acknowledgment of how very “uni-platform” viewer behavior actually is. Viewers don’t really care what platform they need to access -- they care about the content.

If it is available on linear TV or on VOD, fine. If they need to stream or access it digitally, that’s fine, too.The platform is just a delivery or distribution point. It might as well be “one TV/premium video platform” to them.

As we know, there has been a huge revolution in TV data over the last 10 years or so. Now we are seeing the value of all of this in helping advertisers react quickly to changes and reallocate ad spend and in making it possible for networks to reallocate content planning and scheduling. 

The granular data we have from Smart TVs and STBs is so far ahead of what was available from Nielsen ratings based on just 30,000 to 40,000 homes.  Now buyers and sellers can find out quickly from millions of Smart TVs where all the people who traditionally were watching live sports, for example, are and identify the programming that they are viewing instead.  

This data brings a new form of planning and buying TV advertising because now you have data that you can match to other data outside of TV sets and locate audiences in a much more granular way.

Some networks are even using this data in a single platform that integrates granular TV data for their networks with their own app data. They are using this to test how you might push viewers back and forth from digital to TV, how you might reach the light TV viewers, what kind of content you would need to produce for digital viewers to push them to TV and so on. 

These types of data-planning platforms are a novel way to integrate all of these data streams together, and will help lead to a very different way of looking at platforms -- in a much more unified way.

As we know, a crisis always accelerates change, and this crisis will change an awful lot. Already, marketers are adapting, entertainers are reaching their audiences by streaming, and brands like Nike are looking to become more digitally based, direct-to-consumer brands.

Everyone from media companies to marketers will need to make these changes and live in this new world.

Data and measurement helped advertisers optimize their spend in the best of times -- but now, when nothing is no longer certain, is the time for which these advanced systems of granular measurement were created.

When all is changing, it will lead us out of the current crisis as it subsides.

But as it does, the focus it is placing on finding audiences and segments will foster a much greater macro understanding of how viewers are accessing the content they watch.

And the result may be a move from a cross-platform world to one that is much more of a unified TV/premium video platform in practice.

2 comments about "This Crisis Will Accelerate Change In Cross-Platform TV/Premium Video Measurement".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 14, 2020 at 12:55 p.m.

    Jane, unless there has been a change that I'm not aware of smart TV sets and set-top-boxes only measure whether the device is on and what channel or show is on the screen---not who is watching ----or even if anyone is present. Since the typical household resident watches only half the time when TV content is accessed, this creates a huge error margin when trying to attribute household usage to personal viewing. Until this issue is dealt with---perhaps by using an observational system like TVision's---the fact that much larger samples are available for granular analysis via smart sets and STBs is fine but we still need to measure viewers not households to draw meaningful conclusions. Just my opinion, of course.

  2. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, April 16, 2020 at 11:56 a.m.

    Once again Ed is quite correct.  When are "we" going to stop using the term "viewers" when actual viewing, or a known "contact" or expsoure are not measured?  It is beyond disappointing that an article from such an experienced industry media research leader (who I admire greatly!) would not raise the critcal issue in cross media meaurement - a meaningful common currency.  What should have been underlined is difference between phony "impressions" or so called "viewable impressions" per MRC that are neither a measure of viewers nor even audience but a simply a control factor to assure the ad or content has been rendered and delivered to a device to spec and therfore potentially "viewable". 
    Cross-media measurement and planning is indeed more critical than ever but it needs to be executed at the most relevant level for the advertisers and their brands.  That comparable  harmonized common currency level can surely only be based on ad or content rendered and actually exposed to a target audience.  As both Erwin Ephron and Ed Papazian have constantly reminded us, without exposure or actual viewing, there can be no effects.  So running attributions and ROI models, etc. on any other media metric will be wonky at best.  More critically, measured at the exposure level there is a high probability that TV/Premium Video will generate relatively much higher exposure or viewing levels and consequently generate greater "impacts" for the brand advertised in that environment. 
    Please note impacts in their many guises are a measure generally beyond media's control.  Media's responsibility is to generate audience exposure to help optimize the campaigns potential effects.  Once that is acheived a myriad of factors influence the impact or overall ROI of the campaign. 

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