Maximising the impact and value of content

Audience measurement plays a crucial role in helping broadcasters to maximise their impact among audiences and showcase the value of their content
29 January 2024
Maximising the impact of content

Business Development Director & TechEdge CEO

Leaning into streaming 

The viewing landscape is changing. As our report The Future Viewing Experience highlighted, the widespread adoption of Smart TVs is a major driver of change. Broadband access and speeds, device adoption and local market variations all  play a role in the pivotal positions broadcasters and media owners are now in. Viewing is not “just” linear, it is not “just” streaming, it is not tied to the medium anymore, it is on all screens and on all platforms. 

Therefore, now more than ever, broadcasters and platforms need to understand how best to navigate and make sense of this changing landscape. Channel 4 in the UK was an early evangelist for the adoption of online into its strategy, and very much sees itself as a ‘publisher-broadcaster’ that needs to understand how to leverage new platforms.  

This new context puts broadcasters and platforms under more pressure to demonstrate the continued value and relevance of the various forms of viewing to advertisers and agencies, making the measuring of streaming viewing a matter of when, not if. 

Widening the scope of measurement:  competitive intelligence is essential 

Widening the scope of measurement to online streaming means that broadcasters, platforms and networks can demonstrate the strength of content and environment and compare all forms of VOD using the most appropriate metrics.  

Online video has gained significant traction with metrics centred around impressions and viewability. However, in the absence of cross-platform measurement, this has only told one side of the story. Full value can only be unlocked by looking at the complete picture and moving beyond simple impressions to actual viewers, from devices to people. 

In our report, Unlocking Value we show how we are partnering with our clients to expand the scope of measurement, both in terms of platforms covered and the duration that content is tracked over time are gaining vital insights giving them a competitive advantage. Beyond the intelligence itself, it enables them to act and not react. Early competitive intelligence allows them to understand the real dynamics of the evolving viewing market. For instance, our clients are dispelling the myths around streaming by understanding actual platform usage of different VOD models, and all forms of streaming. 

The Norwegian market acted early to upgrade its measurement system and enable performance tracking across all platforms. As one of the first countries to embrace broadcaster video on demand platforms, broadcasters have been able to track their online performance at an early stage and effectively guide their platform strategy. Broadcaster VOD is particularly strong in Norway, making a major contribution towards the daily reach of broadcaster viewing. 

Monitoring how their own content works across time and platforms,  all while learning from monitoring rival platforms enables broadcasters to be a step ahead of the game. This early intelligence gives them the tool to strategise and plan efficiently. 

Beyond impressions: tracking impactful metrics  

Cross-platform audience measurement allows both advertisers and broadcasters to move beyond online impressions. An impression is a measure of a device accessing a stream. What’s not known is who – or how many people – are in front of that screen. This is where panel-based audience measurement is uniquely valuable, particularly in its ability to show how the relationship between impressions and actual viewers varies across different screen types.  

It is also worth to note that usage of different types of VOD differs significantly by type of screen. UK data shows that the majority of SVOD and Broadcaster VOD streaming is now on large, connected TV screens, which are likely to have higher co-viewing than on mobile devices, where video-sharing platforms attract the majority of viewing. 
Therefore, to truly measure the impact and value of content, metrics need to reflect co-viewing. 

Fully unlock the present and predict the future 

As a public service media organisation, the BBC is monitoring cross-platform data. The data allow them to explore some of the profound changes in audience value. For instance, overnight ratings used to be the primary metric, but the overnight rating doesn’t tell the full story. Cross-platform audience measurement data enables the BBC to go from broadcast-led snapshots to continuous value over time, linking to future value with predictive analytics. The present and predictive view ultimately guides the building of their catalogue.  With Barb data, the BBC can go even deeper, it can combine insights with its own analytics to fully unlock today’s audiences. Getting an early view of SVOD performance relation to the BBC’s own services, has implications for programming and commissioning, particularly for younger audiences. This ability to connect ratings data with their own data enables the BBC to gain those new insights. 

In launching ITVX, ITV invested heavily in pivoting from a predominantly catch-up service into a real destination for viewers. A long tail of content means that very few shows have big live audiences.  

Neil Mortensen, Director of ITV Insights Group, believes that streamers need “fireworks” and “bonfires” shows. Fireworks attract attention for acquisition while bonfires keep burning to aid retention. Not every show is a firework, both are needed to make it work. Actually, “bonfire shows” can make up to 60% of viewing. That’s why data is crucial to know which show is in which category and to guide ITVX’s strategy. 

This makes long term cross-platform audience measurement even more important. ITV merges BARB data with ITVX data to obtain the full story. Yet, this proved to be a challenge, not just in engineering the data but also on where to go for the single source of truth.  

Bringing it all together 

Whilst People Meter technology remain vital to measure who is watching what, with more content and advertising delivered directly via IP, the role of the router meter becomes even more important. Our Kantar Media Focal Meter and its bespoke processing backend is increasingly the global standard for measuring all relevant IP traffic within the home: all screens (Smartphones, tablets, laptops) and all IP-sourced content and advertising served to the TV set. Kantar Media deploys or uses 23,000 Focal Meters in Brazil, Canada, Chile, Finland, Israel, Italy, Netherlands, Norway, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, and the UK. 

Providing the technology and the data intelligence not only quantifies the impact and value of content, but it is most importantly also the first step to maximise it. These data fuel broadcaster’s strategies, enabling them to plan and also, when combined with in-house data, predict the future. 

Unlocking Value: the media owner’s guide to monetising viewers across platforms’ is available to download here. A separate guide helping advertisers to reach and engage cross-media audiences is also available here.