Ratings…?

July 15, 2008

According to an estimate by e-marketer, about 25% of the TV content would be watched via either on-demand TV, over the internet, digital HD broadcast, or even on mobile devices by 2012. Whilst this figure is for the US, I would imagine it would well represent quite a few other markets that are spending huge moneys on modern broadcast infrastructure (UK’s Freesat for instance) and the markets with fair broadband penetration rates. These rates are catching up quite fast in markets that represents most of the world’s ad spend growth.

Globally, the TV advertising spend is estimated to be about US$ 200 billion. Do we see 25% of it going into other newer form of TV viewering? We hope.

The major hinderance for this change in ad spending would perhaps be the trading currency for TV advertising, and the de facto measurement matrix- ratings. Unless someone comes up with a way of measuring all TV in an integrated manner.

Just last week, ACNieldon, the world’s biggest provider of TV viewership data, held a client survey to determine the need and demand for a TV audience research that would measure “all screens”. I am amazed at the fact that they thought this demand needs researching! Anyway, Nielson also need to prepare for broadcast over the digital spectrum, and of course the rise of the on-demand and interactive TV. It would be interesting to see how they really mould and modernise themselves to deliver this target.

One thing is for sure, the ratings would not exist in the form and manner they do now. Simply because of the basic premise: Ratings measure the “potential delivery” of a message. How many people are likely to have watched a piece of programming at a given time. Whereas in the modern TV schematic, you are not only a bit more sure of the delivery of the message, you also do not watch a piece of programming at a given time. Also, you perhaps watch the same programme via a diverse range of devices.

In this need for “integration” of TV measurement, which way do you think the wind is going to blow? Would the new ways of watching TV be incorporated into “ratings”, or do you think the ratings would give way to more modern way the advertising on internet is measured? Watch-through rates of sorts perhaps?

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