The traditional ratings system definition of television audience measurement, based upon reach and delivery, is insufficient for current industry needs according to president of TNS Media Research, George Shababb.
He says that the measurement standards need to evolve to incorporate the granular insight now being made possible by advanced analytics and technology.
Speaking at the Advertising Research Foundation’s Audience Measurement 4.0 conference in New York, Shababb said that the current method of assessing audiences does not take into account analytics that can define viewers and their habits—data which is available through Return Path Data from set-top cable boxes.
The industry's goal is to eventually enable integration of measurement across both online and offline media, it is inconsistent to continue to define television audience measurement solely within the context of reach and delivery when audience measurement of digital media that can provide much greater insight and understanding into behaviour.
Shababb said, “The ratings system sufficed as a measure of the television audience when the only real data available was metrics on size and reach, but technology has evolved to enable measurement of the entire spectrum of live and time-shifted (DVR) audience viewing behaviours at a second-by-second level with granular insight into audience behaviour such as commercial avoidance, creative wear-out level and audience flow.
“How we define audience measurement should evolve accordingly to reflect the metrics now available to us.”
He added that the drive to emulate the granular insight associated with digital media has changed expectations and needs relative to television audience measurement.
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