Thoughts From The 2012 TVOT Conference: Where Are The Marketers?

Yesterday, Researcher Mike Glantz on my team attended the TV of Tomorrow (TVOT) conference in New York City. Practically from the conference floor, here is what he had to say:

"The conference was a packed house of technology vendors, data providers, advertising agencies, multichannel video programming distributors (MVPDs), and TV networks all discussing their collective vision for the future for TV as we know it. I wasn’t able to catch all the panels, but some key themes I noted from the ones I was able to attend:

  • Multitasking has changed how TV is measured. Measurement companies like Nielsen, Comscore, and Rentrak are fully aware of how consumers are multitasking with laptops, smartphones, and tablets and the additive effects multitasking has on TV watching. All three are taking steps to build single-source measurement panels that can accurately track cross-platform media exposure. On the startup side, companies like Bluefin Labs and Trendrr showed some of the ways they are tapping into social media data to uncover cross-platform engagement for TV shows.
  • Technology companies and TV programmers are ready to engage their audiences on second screens. I was continually impressed by announcements and demos from Shazam, Ensequence, Zeitera, and TVplus that showed how mobile applications (and soon TV themselves) can seamlessly sync to TV shows and instantaneously provide additional show content and co-branded ads.
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Is Nielsen In Trouble?

 

This past week, Rino Scanzoni, chief investment officer at GroupM, openly decried Nielsen’s national, sample-based TV measurement. Although Scanzoni has an inherent bias (GroupM’s parent WPP owns Nielsen competitor, Kantar, which has a set-top-box data-based TV measurement system of its own called RaPiDview), his words still speak volumes about the state of TV audience measurement and the need for a new system.

In our report earlier this year, "TV’s Currency Conversion" (client access required), we predicted that set-top-box data would start to gain traction in local markets where Nielsen’s samples were especially small and statistically unstable. Since then, data providers like Rentrak and Kantar have been gaining traction in these local markets, offering marketers granular user-level data from local cable companies’ set-top boxes. Nielsen, too, is aggregating set-top-box data as part of a push for a hybrid methodology, but these efforts are confined to its small local market; its legacy national measurement methodology continues to be based on a relatively small sample of households.

However, Nielsen has more problems on its hands than local TV measurement. Consumers are constantly multitasking with other devices while they watch TV. With attention spans no longer guaranteed during commercial breaks, marketers need new ways to measure their ads not just on TV but also across smartphones, tablets, and laptops as well. As media fragmentation continues to grow, marketers will need behavioral cross-platform metrics that measure their audiences across multiple media touchpoints.

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