Measurement Is Like A Box Of Chocolates

In the film ‘Forest Gump’ our hero says, “My Momma always said life was like a box of chocolates…you never know what you’re going to get.” And that’s the way life is going for us in the TV and radio audience measurement industry.

Gone are the days when we could predict the specification of the next tender. The complexity is increasing by the hour and you never know what you are going to get when the next RFP hits your inbox.

Our particular box of chocolates has lots more layers and choices than before. The number of devices or consumption platforms has exploded in recent years. We have televisions, radios, PCs, laptops, mobiles, tablets and gaming stations eg Xbox, PlayStation and Wii.

More devices means more fragmented audiences. Overall broadcast consumption on these new platforms is generally low although in certain demographics audiences can be high and significant.

Another important dimension in play is content delivery. What is currently available and what’s in the pipeline. For instance, live broadcast, broadcast PVR – pushed content, broadcast catch up, broadcast VOD and specific sites like Netflix.

We then have to factor in what impact delivery might have on consumption and how we measure that.

The range of platforms and delivery systems creates a complex matrix and throws up a number of questions. For example – What is the best way to measure the consumption of broadcast VOD on a web enabled Smart TV?

Is it with a fixed meter with Audio Matching or Watermarking? A portable meter? A server based tagging solution? Perhaps it’s interception of the Wi-Fi comms within the home? Take your pick!

To take my sweets analogy a little further we are now in the world of measurement pick’n’mix. For those unfamiliar with the concept, pick’n’mix is where you are given a large range of sweets/candy to choose from and you can vary them. The sting in the tail is when you weigh them and find out how much they cost!

Just as it is today and likely even more in the future, cost will be a factor in any measurement system. How much will companies be prepared to pay to guarantee comprehensive coverage, particularly if the audiences are small and fragmented?

Rest assured, however, that Kantar Media will have a full set of tools available to measure audiences no matter what they are listening to or watching and how they are doing it. Do you want a chocolate?

Article by Keld Nielsen, Global Director of Audience Measurement, Kantar Media

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