The Future is Digital

The Romanian Association for Audience Measurement (ARMA) was founded in 2001 with three membership categories: TV stations, advertisers and advertising and media agencies. We met Lucia Antal, the President of ARMA, to discuss her experiences of being on the board of the International Joint Industry Committees Association (i-JIC) since 2011.

Lucia , you have been the president of ARMA since 2005. How did you join the world of media research?

I started work as a field operator in a research company, but I soon moved into a Research Analyst role. Two years later, I joined Pro TV and for seven years coordinated and developed the research team for the broadcaster. I am responsible for the implementation of the guest viewing data measurement and reporting in the total TV consumption for the ARMA Technical Committee; I was also the committee's President between 2000 and 2004. In 2004 the Central European Media Enterprises (CME) CEO, Adrian Sârbu appointed me to coordinate the programming, sales, marketing and financial operations of Pro Cinema, a new channel specialising in film. Since 2012 I have also managed the Viacom licence of MTV in Romania, as well as the linear channels of Voyo (the VoD business unit of Pro TV).

What is the biggest change to the media landscape you've noticed?

The biggest change, already acknowledged by all players in our industry, is the disconnection of content from the distribution channels available. In short, this means that all distribution channels (television, cinema, radio, print and music) are being challenged by new means of producing and circulating content (internet, texting, smart phones, user-generated content such as blogs and YouTube). In fact the internet, to my mind, has changed everything; it's an environment where everyone can distribute anything to anyone with maximum efficiency.

What is the main priority for ARMA?

"The Association's aim is to provide its members with impartial, precise and objective information on the audience of the Romanian mass media, their characteristics and performances" - this is from our mission statement, and it remains front-of-mind continually for all stakeholders and contractors. Now, our most important objective is to bring the latest developments to our members in the context of a decreasing advertising market.

What is the biggest challenge in audience measurement in Romania?

Digital has brought in its wake a vast widening in choice of content along with an accelerating adoption of new technologies that are shifting consumption away from the live viewing and shifting it to personal digital appliances. This is vastly different from the era when television meant common choices and shared family experience in the living room. The biggest challenge in audience measurement both now and in the future will be to measure the content anytime.

How are broadcasters responding to this challenge in Romania?

The changes we're experiencing in the media landscape are significant, but need to be overcome. Traditional forms of distribution are being 'unpacked' and content is increasingly available on multiple devices. We can cope with these challenges by following the consumer and delivering advanced research tools to measure their behaviours and attitudes. Research organisations, including Kantar Media at the forefront, have demonstrated that resources are being developed and deployed to approach and meet these challenges. I am looking forward to deploying these solutions in our own market.

What 's the biggest game -changer for the Romanian media measurement industry?

To survive in this market, we must understand not just the 'what' or the quantity of our audiences but the 'how' and the 'why'. Eitan Kassif recently discussed the possibility of fusing our existing audience research panel with consumer behaviour data to understand the desires and interests of our audience. This fusion would be truly beneficial to us. And the best part, knowing that it's already been tried and tested in 10 other markets. We're looking to deploy Kantar Media's online TV measurement software VirtualMeter in the next year or so, which can measure audiences on any internet-ready device - that's going to be really exciting and important for our industry!

Do you think we could benefit from sharing our research experiences from across the world?

Yes - without a doubt! The only way to improve our local services is to understand the challenges and solutions of others - not just in the case of media researchers but in the wider media industry and amongst consumers.

I've learnt a lot from going to global conferences; The World Audiences Summit for example, is an annual summit where leaders of the media industry congregate to discuss their experiences and learn the latest technology of the industry.

Great ! and finally ... what is your favourite place in the whole world ?

Greece - for me it is synonymous with relaxation.

Your biggest hobby?

Travelling - I want to see how other people live and the landscapes they enjoy every day.

Your favourite TV show ?

Master Chef - the Romanian version of this cooking show has helped me enjoy the time I spend in my kitchen.

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