TV's challenge: unify VOD and linear measurement
Mediatel CEO Greg Grimmer (l) in conversation with Sam Taylor
To help simplify the buying and trading process, marketers have this week boosted calls for the TV sector to unify measurement across its increasingly splintered offerings.
Sam Taylor, head of group commercial marketing at Direct Line Group, said that splitting TV audiences via streaming, broadcaster VOD and linear platforms is making it harder to justify spend in the medium at board level - in part because the C-suite is reading scare stories about declining television audiences, while not viewing the evidence that they are being spread over other broadcaster-owned channels.
"We recognise the value of TV through all of the econometric [studies] we do, but what we now struggle with for the core part of our spend is the challenge of how you build on top of that," Taylor said at the Future of TV Advertising Global on Tuesday (10 Dec).
"What do you do when audiences are shrinking and there's continued inflation in the market? How do you continue to grow TV's performance when you can't measure the value of VOD on top of linear? It's very difficult to pull it out."
Taylor, whose business spends around 40% of its media budget in TV, added that most advertisers no longer care if an impression is streamed, delivered live or through a broadcaster VOD platform.
"Does it matter? No. What we care about is delivering against audiences. So what we need to try and do is overcome the different ways of trading and buying and planning.
"At the moment you can't measure in a way that is unified. You can't trade in a way that is unified. Instead, we're being forced to look at TV as linear or VOD, when we just want to look at 'TV'."
In the UK, BARB is now able to measure an increasing number of non-linear broadcast channels from premium broadcasters. However, its Project Dovetail - which is designed to offer a more comprehensive view - has been in development for years and is currently unable to move as fast as the market.
However, from early 2020 it is expected it will measure unduplicated reach and time spent viewing across three screens: TV sets, tablets and PCs.
Later next year, BARB said it will also launch a couple of new initiatives to help agencies and advertisers to plan television advertising campaigns, one of which is an interim BVOD campaign planning tool.
This will enable agencies and advertisers to analyse the incremental reach and frequency delivered by BARB-reported BVOD services to a linear advertising campaign across multiple screens.
Meanwhile, EGTA, the association of television and radio sales houses, issued a charter in October that in part would commit to improving measurement across 42 territories.
In support of the charter, and in response to the needs of advertisers, Sky Media said on Tuesday it has pledged to deliver de-duplicated reach and frequency for VOD and linear as it ramps up its advertising proposition.
"At the moment, we measure campaigns across linear and broadcaster VOD in isolation, and that's not fit for purpose for the future," said Sky Media's outgoing deputy managing director, Jamie West.
"The challenge for the industry is building on the EGTA charter so we have consistency of currency, measurement and transparency. We need to build an ecosystem that allows data to pass so you can measure and unify audiences. That's the simple challenge."
To facilitate this, Sky is rolling out CFlight from the US to all European territories next year. The advertising metric is able to capture all live, on-demand and time-shifted commercial impressions on every viewing platform.
Meanwhile, Australia witnessed the launch of its first total television viewing earlier this year. VOZ delivers the first de-duplicated audience estimates of the broadcast content Australians are watching, who is watching, the amount of time they spend watching, and the devices they’re using to watch.