Bhuvan Shastry K, Channel Head – Programming, SUN TV Network

In today’s world of TV and video measurement, consumers are two steps ahead of the industry’s measurement players; when mainstream consumers shifted from cross-platform video consumption to a more pervasive video experience, mixing traditional live TV with on-demand video streaming services, in-app video, and social video, traditional measurement companies took several years to recognize the importance of measuring cross-platform video.

The Evolution of Television

  • 1950–1990 – Traditional Linear TV
  • 1990–2000 – Time shifted TV
  • 2000–2010 – Digital on demand TV and emergence of digital only streaming services
  • 2010–2016 – Mobile era and expansion of the digital device spectrum for video = liquid consumers
  • 2016 onwards – the disappearance of the borders between traditional TV and new TV. Video everywhere, social video, programmatic content, and advertising, cross-platform advertising

Standardization – TV and Digital

It is clear that TV measurement needs standardization. It is not easy to compare the time that a consumer spends watching linear and live TV since the consumer’s attention is likely divided across multiple other activities – versus another consumer who spends 35 seconds of undivided attention on Twitter/Facebook watching a football game on a smartphone screen. We need to find a solution to measure attention and engagement across all platforms and channels, and we need to have deep capabilities to track all video consumption, even in-app video, to help the industry really understand consumers’ video consumption.

While many new digital services already offer built-in analytics, these are not developed using independent data sources, and so an overall industry comparison is not possible. Video services themselves will always have some bias in their measurement practices, and again – they only build a picture of the consumer around that one service. While this may be sufficient in cases where the consumer is only spending his/her time on that one service.

Numbers are not Enough

Attractive audience reach and engagement numbers are an asset to any media company, but they are not enough. We also need data that offers deep granularity, so that we can explore complex consumer behavior – for example, being able to identify the segment of consumers who watched the same program on multiple devices. This is the problem with today’s fusion methodologies: they do not provide such levels of data deep-dives or breakdowns. Today, two significant behavioral changes in consumers are redefining the entertainment landscape. These changes require television networks and advertisers to evolve rapidly to keep their shows, content, and ad buys relevant to a demanding consumer set.

  • People now consume television via time-shifted DVR, online (legally), online (illegally), mobile device, Internet streaming to TV, and a wide variety of other methods.
  • Viewers now consume multiple forms of media at the same time, such as watching TV on a television while checking Facebook on a mobile. This is commonly referred to as two-, three-, or multiscreen viewing.

Today, households have multiple televisions and watch multiple programs simultaneously. They engage in multiscreen viewing, and consume many streams of relevant and irrelevant data while watching television. Networks push advertising through a wide variety of channels but, more importantly, consumers now have a measure of control by reaching out to networks through social media and other digital properties, in real time.

Way Forward

The opportunity for networks and advertisers is huge; they can not only provide relevant, interesting content that keeps viewers engaged, but also grow relationships that are driven by the consumers’ stated needs, wants, and interests. The value of a click, an eyeball, or a connection when a consumer makes a choice to participate is infinitely higher than that of a passive action, like viewing a commercial.