As the media industry continues to expand and evolve, keeping measurement as up-to-date as possible can be a challenge. From fragmented audiences moving across platforms and devices to the plethora of TV data produced by those devices, the question becomes, “What data is most useful, standard-izable and accurate for my purposes?” It is through this question that the strength of television over streaming data becomes clear.
Not only do measurement companies like Nielsen and comScore use standard datasets for measurement—they also offer cross-platform datasets to help stitch together the consumer journey. TV datasets from sources like Facebook, Hulu, Netflix, and Google have valuable measurement potential but are not fully shared externally, and none of them offer a full picture of media use. So while over-the-top (OTT) services remain popular, their data is not easily quantifiable within the broader media ecosystem.
A recent article in Fast Company magazine points out that Alan Wurtzel, president of NBCU Research, isn’t worried about OTT competitors. Wurtzel noted, “The reports of our death have been greatly exaggerated. I don’t believe there’s enough stuff on Netflix that is broad enough and consistent enough to affect us in a meaningful way on a consistent basis.”
OTT services like Netflix, Apple TV, and Hulu, and sites like Facebook and Google, collect their data in walled gardens, which can protect that data but also limit its availability and use to selected customers. Marketers have long been concerned about the efficacy of data held behind walled gardens. Digiday’s John McDermott, writing back in 2015, said, “It raises questions about whether Facebook and Google’s ad tech products can be trusted to function objectively, or if they’re merely being used to funnel ad spend through their respective media networks.” The jury is still out on this issue.
Bringing It All Together
Fortunately, companies like Videa are exploring ways to collect and consolidate datasets. “As we have brought the Videa platform to market and successfully placed orders for full-schedule forward-reserve inventory, we continue to believe and maintain that advertisers want a common set of data and metrics to measure across devices,” says Andrea Moe, Videa’s senior director of marketing.
“Broadcast TV has a long history of compiling and measuring viewer data, via Nielsen for example, and automated platforms are able to take such data to the next level of optimization and results by creating standards for transparency that ultimately benefit all the players in the media sphere of buying and selling.”
At the recent GABBCON (Global Audience Based Buying Conference & Consultancy), Carl Fremont, global chief digital officer at MEC, said, “We always reached audiences at scale using data. Today there is a plethora of data and technical ways to access it. It is all about how you use the data and the data intelligence, not how you access it. How do we use the data to drive subsequent contacts and use content and platforms to express that brand? We are guided by the infinite amount of data to be more precise and move people through the purchase decision.” And automated TV buying involves using data in just this way, offering a platform to consolidate that data for more informed media buying and better results.