• Return-Path-Data Lexicon: Viewing in the Buffer
    With the advent of trick play capabilities, viewers can avail themselves of a variety of time-delayed viewing opportunities. Past columns on live and time-shifted viewing focused on the two best known forms of video content consumption. Today we explore a third type of viewing behavior that is made possible because of the DVR: "Viewing in the Buffer."
  • Media Insights Q&A With Ooyala's Sean Knapp
    Sean Knapp, Founder and CTO of Ooyala, started his career at Google as one of the original engineers. In my interview with him, Sean talks about his work at Google, the launching of Ooyala, some of the metrics he has developed, data fusion and his perspective on the future of television.
  • The World Of 'Veep'
    Does "Veep," the HBO comedy starring Julia Louis-Dreyfus as a hapless vice president of the U.S., have anything to tell us about contemporary politics? I guess it depends on how cynical you are, since the show presents a political culture in which back-stabbing, ambition, and hard-fought compromises are put solely to the service of image, windrow-dressing and trivia.
  • 'American Idol,' 'Dancing With The Stars' Still The Reality Giants To Beat
    Much has been said these last few months about the precipitous ratings slide Fox's "American Idol" suffered this year, and the recent decline of ABC's "Dancing with the Stars." If you accept current audience measurement systems as accurate they would indicate that both shows suffered double-digit drops, with "Idol'"s loss coming in as high as 25%. To which I say, "So what?"
  • New View On Viewers: Maybe Distractions Aren't Such A Bad Thing, After All
    It is no secret that television viewing is not done in a vacuum and that viewers are distracted by the environment from paying 100% attention to television program. Past findings by media researchers, going back a half a century, have made this an indisputable fact. Therefore, media buyers and sellers accepted the fact that the ratings as provided by Nielsen and (former TV audience researcher) Arbitron and others have over-stated the true dimension of the TV audience.
  • Return-Path-Data Lexicon: Viewing Versus Tuning
    Because of the unique attributes of the RPD environment, considerable care is taken to correctly define STB activity as it pertains to media consumption. Let's take for example "tuning" vs "viewing" behavior. The first implies passivity. Just because a set-top box is tuned to a specific network does not mean that there are viewers receiving that content. There are ways to ascertain viewing from tuning streams, such as examining activity from the remote - channel change, trick play and set on or off - but this is still a measurement "work in progress.
  • Media Insights Q&A With Turner's Gregg Liebman
    Gregg Liebman, senior vice president, ad sales and sports research, Turner, started in the industry on the agency side before moving to the networks. This gives him a uniquely long-term perspective on the industry in general and in research specifically. In my interview with him, Gregg talks about his extensive research background from both an agency and content provider perspective, the importance of quality custom research in conjunction with syndicated services, Turner's groundbreaking approach to research, and some predictions about the media landscape in the next five years.
  • NBC's Troubles With 'Harry'
    NBC kicked off the 2012-13 broadcast upfront season with a move that may have alienated millions of people: the cancellation of legal drama "Harry's Law," this despite the fact that it often was the network's most watched entertainment series during its two-year run. The trouble with "Harry," as NBC noted, was that its audience was unmanageably older-skewing, even though it was much larger than that of many other television shows. That means most of its viewers were 55-plus -- or "dead," in the eyes of advertisers who continue to lust after the 18-34, 18-49 and, less passionately, 25-54 demographic groups.
  • Return-Path-Data Lexicon: Middleware
    Middleware is ubiquitous to computing infrastructure, but also holds special importance in the world of return-path data and measurement. RPD middleware not only provides a range of data capabilities including interactivity and addressability, it also may contain strains of usage data that need to be captured and merged with other collections of data from the box and associated streams. Let's look at the terms and definitions associated with middleware:
  • Naturally Occurring Data
    Over a half century ago, TV measurement was invented. Advertisers wanted to know whether their TV ads were effective. How to define "effective"? The ultimate answer: Did the ads drive consumers to action, to buy the product or service being advertised? This kind of detailed information was simply not available, so the industry settled for a weak proxy: Were my ads even seen? A sampling system was set up to monitor if the TV program was watched by a small number of panelists who had an "opportunity to see" the ads And these panelists had to be actively engaged, raising …
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