It Takes All Kinds

Media companies are going gaga over multiplatform programming, but no one has yet cracked the code on how to measure the whole shebang.

Enter audience measurement firm TNS, which has begun to develop a research tool that could marry data on linear and nonlinear viewing habits to produce an overall audience ratings report for a show.

Such a tool would take into account the ratings rise from each of the various platforms in a show’s life, such as linear TV, video-on-demand, and DVD. TNS could then report to clients on how each digital distribution window impacts the overall audience growth, says George Shababb, chief operating officer of TNS. This spring, cable operator Charter began using TNS to measure digital cable viewership for 55,000 homes in the Los Angeles area, a precursor to the firm’s digital push.

“This is the first step. You have to start with the linear data, and the next step will be to expand into the nonlinear realm so you are reporting on digital video recorders, VOD, and ITV,” he says. Time Warner’s Hawaii system also uses TNS. The company serves agencies, broadcasters, cable operators, and advertisers.

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