Audience measurement faces tricky questions

Audience measurement faces tricky questions

Back from Athens, Julie MacManus reports on the 2018 asi International Radio & Audio and Television & Video Conferences

It’s been a while since Socrates advocated the practice of thoughtful questioning to examine ideas, so he was probably looking down proudly on the ASI in Athens last week at the large, throwable (yet not always catchable), microphone tossed between conference delegates.

And there are some tricky questions facing the TV and radio audience measurement community as rapid change becomes the new normal. Fundamentally, the industry needs to reach consensus on what TV and Radio actually is before it is able to measure it.

While the consumer may not care, or even be aware, as platforms begin to blur the distinction, whether they are watching linear TV, Broadcaster VOD, YouTube or Netflix, the consolidation of audience metrics still has some way to go. Especially when some services don’t want to be measured. While two of the FAANGs, Facebook and Google were at the ASI calling for greater collaboration, Kantar and GfK both told the conference that their lawyers had issued advice that it is legally inappropriate to publish SVOD programme level data since it would violate the T&Cs users sign up to.

While, over in the US, Nielsen are publishing figures, and are completely confident in their right to do so. Wouldn’t the ASI be the perfect forum for these research companies to reach a consensus on what they can do? Apparently not, since the legal eagles say this would constitute collusion.

So why the sensitivity? Interestingly, the Nielsen viewing figures show how Netflix Originals (on which spend is projected to be $12-13B this year) perform well at launch but tail off quickly, while older library content accounts for the most viewing and retains audiences steadily.

For media owners, like Disney, this raises questions about whether they are benefiting enough from making their content available via these services. And it’s not just Hollywood studios facing these questions; the BBC World Service found that just 7% of users was able to identify them as the source of their news stories consumed via Facebook.

… read on at

Originally posted by Julie MacManus at Mediatel
19th November 2018

For more on the South African story Julie refers to at the end of her piece, please click here.