New York – Advertisers and ad buyers are increasingly looking to a series of metrics to track specific viewing audiences,outside of the traditional age/sex information of the past, according to a panel of measurement industry executives at the Multichannel News/B&C event, Advanced Advertising: Profiting From a Targeted Audience.
“On the buy side, they are under pressure to be more accountable in media budgets to make sure they are reaching the people they want,” said Allant executive vice president, communications, TV and media Eric Schmitt, on the panel moderated by Multichannel News editor-in-chief Mark Robichaux. He added that he believes some money is leaving television in favor of more precise alternatives that provide more granular audience definitions.
“The advertiser wants a simple segmentation that they can put into play,” Schmitt said.
While advertisers have acknowledged that they are willing to pay a premium for such information, measurement companies are facing challenges in delivering it. Part of that problem is assembling information from linear TV viewing, VOD, SVOD, online and mobile, all measured in different ways by different companies.
“It’s going to require new ways of looking at the TV marketplace,” said Rentrak president of national television Chris Wilson, adding that the idea is to take set-top box data, streaming information, and the like and combine it in a way to understand the total audience.
“A big part of this is about being able to create better decision tools for television on the foundation of television ratings,” Wilson said. “We don’t see a decline in the consumption of video; it’s actually probably going up. It’s about understanding where that consumption is taking place and being able to stitch that together and understand what that audience looks like.”
Nielsen senior vice president product leadership, national and cross-platform television audience measurement Brian Fuhrer said it is important to take information from several different sources including from traditional TV devices, set-top boxes and over the air antennas as well as which devices the viewing is being done on, inclusing traditional TVs, computers and game consoles.
“I have seen more change in the past year than at any time in my career,” Fuhrer said. “A lot of that has to do with the content that is being delivered and the impact of subscription video on demand. It’s not just age/sex anymore, and layering on additional information is really critical.”
Turner Broadcasting Systems chief research officer Howard Shimmel added that even though all of those different aspects of viewing can be measured, the credibility of the data and truly understanding usage patterns also is a big factor.
“My wish list is a great across platform, single-source measurement.”
Jed Meyer, global director of research and analytics at Annalect, part of Omnicom Media Group, agreed. “The idea is it’s really important to know that you can duplicate [information] across platforms,” Meyer said. “The challenge is to do that in a high quality way. I think what it speaks to is the need for disruption in the research landscape. A lot of companies are tied up with one or two research vendors.”
But Shimmel added that reaching the goal of more granular measurement is going to take cooperation from all parties.
“I don’t believe one company solves this,” Shimmel said, adding that the solution is found by taking the best information from Rentrak, Nielsen, Comscore and other companies.
Schmitt warned that if advertisers don’t get the metrics they want, they will take their considerable dollars elsewhere.
"Advertisers want to buy more precise audience segments than they can today on TV," Schmitt said. “They already can online and we need to go there. We all like food, we all like to eat, but if we all go to different restaurants, buyers aren’t going to follow us."