The US is lagging behind in efforts to create a unified currency for measuring TV and video consumption across platforms – but only because the size of the business there makes it a juggernaut that is difficult to push.
That is the viewpoint of one media measurement chief who has a great global overview of the worldwide pace of change.
Around the world, advertisers are clamouring for a better, holistic understanding of audience consumption of their content on what is now a dizzying number of platforms, numbering both traditional linear TV and new digital channels.
In this video interview with Beet.TV, Kantar Media CEO Andy Brown says a “cookie-cutter” approach to the solution will not work, because different markets have different structures.
“Things are moving at different speeds in different parts of the world,” Brown says. “The Dutch market has been the first market to bring together total video. They’re capturing audience across television and online across multiple devices and have created a unified currency across TV and digital.
“The world outside the Netherlands is looking at that to see what happens as a result – has there been any systematic shift of dollars in any different direction? Thus far, we haven’t seen anything dramatic.”
US TV ratings are supplied by Nielsen via panels to a standard set out by the Media Ratings Council.
But, in the UK, Kantar Media supplies panel data about TV set and digital viewing, as measured by audio and software meters, to industry body BARB. That body also now takes separate, census-level data straight from broadcasters’ online viewing services.
But BARB’s so-called Project Dovetail 2, which Kantar Media and Nielsen have bid to provide, is working to unite the two data pools for true cross-screen measurement. Full deployment is expected this year, and Brown calls it “person-by-person, single-source data”.
So, is the US system farther behind? Kantar Media’s Brown says it’s not that simple.
“You have one or two very large suppliers who control the measurement solution,” he tells Beet.TV. “In other countries, it’s more fragmented – you don’t have the same inertia.” He explains that is just down to the quirk of the US market’s intrinsic value: “The money at risk in the United States is so high.” Specifically, the UK TV advertising market is roughly 10 time smaller than America’s.
Brown does, though, suggest the US industry must soon make further in-roads in to the cross-device measurement dream. So far, Kantar Media’s relationship with comScore has seen it help Rentrak – recently merged with comScore – understand set-top box audiences.
But Brown adds: “You’ll potentially see some significant investment in the US market over the next 12 months. Those businesses need to move forward and need to invest in the US market.”