March 2008 - Marketing Methods

TNS and TiVo Take on Nielsen

By Peter Koeppel

Advertisers and media buyers have been pushing for measurement systems that more accurately reflect consumer TV viewing patterns in this age of DVRs, where many consumers are zapping through commercials. TNS Media Research and TiVo have developed technologies in an attempt to improve on the current measurement systems. TNS will be using set-top box data from 100,000 DirecTV households to get a better handle on consumer TV viewing patterns. TNS DirecTView will provide both live and time-shifted viewing patterns on a second-by-second basis. TiVo also has been collecting second-by-second viewing data of real-time and time-shifted TV viewing on DVRs from 20,000 users. Nielsen currently uses minute-by-minute data and a sample of just 14,000 households, and many of the Nielsen households have to complete paper diaries tracking their TV viewing habits.

All Viewer Measurement Systems Have Limitations
No measurement system is perfect. Set-top boxes have their limitations, since they don’t know when someone leaves the room during a commercial break. In addition, the viewing habits of DirecTV satellite customers may not be reflective of the rest of the TV viewing population, since they tend to be more upscale, and many signed up for the service to watch sporting events, which could skew the viewing data. TiVo users tend to be more upscale, more tech-savvy and younger, so TiVo data also may not be representative of the general TV viewing audience.

More sophisticated marketers, TV networks and their media-buying firms will start looking at data from multiple sources, including Nielsen, TNS and TiVo to better assess viewing patterns. TiVo is recruiting viewers who are willing to provide demographic data, so they can report viewing patterns by demographic groups. Nielsen is working on “Anywhere Anytime Media Measurement,” which measures all forms of video media consumption. And Nielsen is now measuring DVR data, which looks at programming and commercial minutes most watched in real time and up to seven days later.

One surprising finding from TiVo’s data was that DRTV ads were some the most viewed commercials. Who would have guessed that DRTV ads would be viewed more than more expensively produced branding ads with celebrities? Todd Juenger from TiVo, surmises that “Celeb-laden commercials may not do well in TiVo because they tend to be purchased for maximum reach across a broad rather than targeted audience, and targeting appears to be a key ingredient for TiVo viewers,” according to Jack Myers’ Digital Video Report.

It’s encouraging to see several new companies now competing to provide a more comprehensive profile of TV viewing habits. DRTV media-buying firms armed with this type of data should be able to further improve their clients’ ROI in today’s more fragmented media environment.

Peter Koeppel is president of Koeppel Direct Inc., a full-service media buying agency based in Dallas. He can be reached at (972) 732-6110, or via e-mail at [email protected].



No Comments

No comments yet.

RSS feed for comments on this post. TrackBack URI

Leave a comment