How TV measurement for marketers is changing: Social, programmatic, and more

Margo is responsible for the agencies contracts to provide panel and census measurement services to BARB, the UK industry body for TV measurement. She works closely with BARB and its key stakeholder groups to lead Kantar Media's implementation of BARB's strategy, including the introduction of the TV player report and measurement of viewing on tablets. Appointed Managing Director of UK TV & Video Measurement, Margo joined Kantar Media in Spring 2015 following a seven-year tenure at the BBC. Whilst there she held several senior positions including Director, Marketing & Audiences, BBC Charter and Acting Director of Audiences, BBC. Whilst at the BBC, Margo was involved in significant research milestones. These included stints in BBC Radio with the re-launch of Radio 7 as Radio 4 Extra; the development of a Share of Ear metric for total audio consumption and the launch of the RAJAR on-line diary as part of her role on the RAJAR board. In 2011 she moved across to television and worked on the impact of increased multi-tasking on engagement, the needs that television meets uniquely and the ways that audiences find content in the new media landscape. Prior to the BBC, Margo held senior client-facing roles at Added Value and Research International across a variety of practices including branding, communications, innovation and customer satisfaction for clients in financial services, automotive and chocolate!


Digital outlets have dominated conversations about marketing over the last decade, and are understandably a huge focus for marketers. According to the IAB, cross-platform digital ad spend grew to a staggering £4.8 billion during the first half of 2016 and forecasts estimate this is only set to keep increasing.

But television is still the biggest individual platform by ad revenue, accounting for a record £5.3 billion in ad spend in the UK during 2015 and its delivery is extending across new devices and platforms. Whilst the TV set still accounts for the majority of viewing, consumption increasingly extends to other screens, companion devices and digital platforms, driven in particular by the rise of online players and streaming services.

And as the world of TV viewing transforms, so too must the way in which it is measured.

As an international provider of TV measurement services, we have a holistic view of how the demands of TV measurement are changing. Our TV to TV report, compiled from insight from our business around the globe examines how measurement is evolving from measuring the TV set to measuring TV as a cross-device, cross-platform medium. In short, how it’s evolving from Television to Total Video.  

Here are four examples of key changes in the TV industry and how TV measurement can and has responded.

The boom in broadcaster VOD

Over recent years, broadcasters have embraced online services as an extended means of distributing content. Online video services not only enable broadcasters to extend viewing across devices, but also give consumers access to content whenever and wherever they choose. Far from being a threat to television, as a distribution method the internet has liberated TV content – and the advertising that sits alongside it – to be available anytime and anywhere.

TV currencies have responded to this shift by capturing census data from tagged online players, which is then combined with panel data to provide people-level insights into audiences’ online consumption. In other words, sophisticated data integration has become critical. Today, it’s all about a hybrid approach to measurement, integrating census and panel data to ensure a complete view of the total audience.

Social is more than supplementary

Social media platforms have emerged as a complementary part of the broadcast experience and are playing a rapidly growing role in how the value of TV extends within and beyond the broadcast window.

Marketers are now able to leverage the engagement opportunities that span from broadcast across social channels. By understanding the social media patterns around specific programmes, broadcasters can extend viewer engagement beyond the TV broadcast itself, and brands can understand the best way to enhance targeting of more socially engaged viewers.

Second screen engagement can also be maximised via companion apps; for example, our SyncNow Automatic Content Recognition (ACR) technology helped Talpa – one of the world’s leading TV format, production and media companies – to enhance TV viewer engagement via a play-along app for their popular quiz show format ‘What Do I Know’. Thanks to the technology, Talpa were able to measure engagement and programme loyalty from over 500,000 active second screen users in the app during broadcast time.

The potential of programmatic

Programmatic’s uptake in the broadcast sector, whilst slow, is steadily gaining traction as a new mechanism to trade advertising.

As the volume of user data available and number of channels and services on offer grow, we can expect the application of programmatic advertising methods in the broadcast space to increase. Sky, for example has been pioneering an ambitious data strategy through its Sky Ad Smart programmatic tool, with the aim of offering viewers a personalised advertising experience.

For marketers, the benefits of real-time measurement could present a huge opportunity. At Kantar Media, this is something we’ve been doing in Brazil for many years; providing the industry with information on their audience in real-time throughout every minute of the broadcasting window.

Niche becoming normal  

Whether offering regional linear broadcast content or providing interest-based short form content via YouTube, niche TV and video channels have proliferated in recent years, driven by greater bandwidth on cable channels, the transition to digital TV and lower barriers to entry for online only platforms. The move of BBC 3 to be completely online in the UK is an example of how broadcasters are opting to target youth audiences via on demand services rather than live channels. This is a golden opportunity for marketers to reach a readily engaged audience in a targeted and focused way. 

Measurement is rising to the challenge of capturing niche viewing by integrating census level data and return path data or set meter panel data with traditional currency panels. At Kantar Media we are increasingly following content across platforms (something we’ve already got planned for Norway) rather than being led by a linear schedule.

There is a catch, however. The new, more complicated and nuanced, world of television measurement requires more active participation from both broadcasters and media platforms. In order to achieve a truly unified industry currency, content owners will need to provide better meta data and online video players will need to join broadcasters by ensuring they have transparent and auditable measurement systems in place.

TV is still king of content – whether it’s watched from the comfort of a sitting room on the TV set or on a smartphone from the beach – and the opportunities it offers to marketers and brands are second to none. However, the transition from Television to Total Video means the industry continues to challenge ourselves to budget, plan, execute and measure brand campaigns to understand an audience holistically regardless of how, when and where they are consuming content. 

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