Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Think Australian TV is going through big changes with Time Shifted Viewing? The next step will be a lot bigger.

Last week Starcom released our latest Starflash which discussed the effects of Time Shifted Viewing on the first 4 weeks of the year. I thought this would be a great opportunity to look at what is happening in the US where they have been using Time-Shifted viewing for a few years now and are about ready to embark on the next big change.

Ratings for Time-Shifted Viewing (TSV) launched at the beginning of this year in Australia and it will be a while yet until those of us in media agencies and marketers really get our heads around how these new reporting figures will really impact us. In a recent Starflash, Linda Brown discussed the effects of TSV on these 4 weeks of viewing. Initially we’ve seen that only 3% of metro viewing is time-shifted which increases to 7% for those with subscription TV - however these results may be impacted by summer viewing and a high percentage of sports, which are expected to be viewed live.

There is an expectation that TV execs will look to increase their rates because of these 'new' audiences (Channel 9's Director of Programming has even openly stated this) while media execs will argue that these audiences have always existed.

While we are busy trying to understand what impact all of this is going to have on our advertising activities, it would be wise to cast an eye overseas to see what the next big thing will be. If a report in Advertising Age on February 8 is any indication, it will be a much bigger change than TSV and has the potential to finally drag digital into the vocabulary of every person in our industry, whether they like it or not.

To date, the buying of online video ad inventory has largely been the responsibility of those in digital teams and while this has been presented as incremental reach on a TV buy, all of the leg work has been done in separation from those who look after TV buying. What Nielsen is proposing in the US is essentially a TV-anywhere approach where the size of the screen shouldn't dictate the way we report viewing habits.

"Starting this fall, Nielsen intends to start making available data that take into account viewing of commercials that run in a particular show, no matter whether they are seen online or on TV. The data will be made available for evaluation starting this September and are intended to become the basis for ad negotiations in February 2011.

But here's the catch: For Nielsen to be able to provide the commercial rating, shows seen online will have to have the same group of commercials that run on TV. If this system were adopted en masse -- and it's not clear that it would be -- online viewing might be crammed just as full of commercials as the more traditional TV-watching experience.”

There are number of different theories currently being discussed (and likely more to come) as to how this could all play out. Large media owners are suggesting that the current model of online viewing - only few ads in a program, most often from only one advertiser - isn’t sustainable as a business model and in order to make money from online we may have to look at either increased ad loads or potentially looking at a paid subscription model.

But is the consumer willing to pay for another subscription on top of their current Pay-TV and Internet subscriptions? Likely not, so finding the right balance will be the next big challenge for media owners. Some in the US such as Time Warner and Comcast provide free online Video on Demand to their current subscribers.

“One academic thinks consumers will, over time, accept more advertising in the digital realm, ”It's not so much the ad load. It's much more about the convenience," said Tom Ksiazek, an assistant professor of communication at Villanova University. Research suggests that "viewers will watch those ads as long as the program is on the best available screen" for them at the time they want to view a program that is important to them.”

With Video on Demand gaining traction through current subscription TV providers and it's increasing popularity through online properties such as Hulu, it is no longer a question ‘if’ but ‘when’ for consolidated ratings, regardless of how a program is viewed. It looks like this system is still being created in the US and no one quite knows what form it will take just yet, in Australia we have the benefit of seeing how this plays out and its potential effect on our market.

The full article from Advertising Age, "Online Video One Step Closer to TV-Sized Ad Loads" can be read here:

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Ah, This is spot on! Clarifies
some contradictions I've been hearing.