Single-Source Multiscreen Video Panels Are Feasible: Studies

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Two separate studies by comScore and Arbitron -- both commissioned by the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement -- demonstrate that building single-source, cross-platform panels to measure video audiences across at least three devices is feasible but that they face challenges in reaching scale, according to CIMM.

CIMM was founded in 2009 by TV content providers, ad agencies and advertisers to foster new forms of cross-platform media measurement and audience measurement using set-top-box data. The coalition's backers have expressed frustration with the pace of innovation by Nielsen, the current industry standard for TV viewing measurement data.

"The methodologies currently available to track and measure audiences across multiple screens are, at best, incomplete and haven't nearly kept pace with the rapid proliferation of cross platform content consumption," CIMM managing director Jane Clarke said in a statement.


According to Arbitron's study, 91.7% of TV viewers are using PCs and mobile devices as second and third screens to access video content and 35.5% use all three screens. The research firm recruited a panel of about 500 Arbitron Portable People Meter participants 18 and older who viewed broadcast and cable TV outlets operated by CIMM participants, content from CIMM member websites and apps, and video on Hulu, Netflix and YouTube.

"The cross-platform pilot that we conducted for CIMM clearly demonstrates the value of personal, passive and portable measurement within a single panel of media consumers," Gregg Lindner, Arbitron's executive vice president of service innovation and chief research officer, said in a statement.

To track mobile usage, the Arbitron study's panelists downloaded mobile software (acquired from IMMI in 2010) onto their smartphones to track URLs visited on Android or BlackBerry mobile phones.

Meanwhlie, comScore's research comprised a study of 10 broadcast and cable networks over a five-week period. The study showed that an average of 90% of consumers engaging with a given brand did so on TV, while 25% did so online and 12% specifically did so via online video. During the five-week period, 60% of a media brand's consumers accessed TV and online during concurrent 30-minute increments, comScore found.

"While TV remains the leading media channel, once TV-centric media brands now engage with their consumers across a variety of digital touchpoints," said Joan FitzGerald, comScore's VP of TV and cross-media solutions. She added, "While this enhances the quality of brand engagement, it also increases the complexity of media planning and analysis by orders of magnitude," underscoring the need for a single-source multiscreen measurement methodology.

Current CIMM members are: A+E Networks, Belo, CBS, Carat USA, ConAgra, Discovery Communications, Gannett, GroupM, Hearst, Interpublic Group Mediabrands, LEGO Systems, Microsoft, NBC Universal, News Corp., Omnicom Media Group, P&G, Publicis Groupe, Scripps Networks, Time Warner Inc., Unilever, Univision Communications, Viacom and The Walt Disney Co.

The comScore report is available free to download at Arbitron said its CIMM-commissioned report will be available on its website Wednesday.