Mumbai: It was for the first time since the 1960s that Nielsen’s measure lost the ‘seal of approval’ of the industry that uses it, as major advertisers and TV networks looked for other means to count their audiences. The television measurement company has long been criticized by the Video Advertising Bureau (a trade organization representing the advertising sales departments of networks and distributors) for underestimating television viewing during the pandemic and excluding homes broadband only. The months-long feud resulted in the accreditation of Nielsen’s national and local TV rating service being suspended by the Media Ratings Council, effective in mid-September 2021.
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The problems were further compounded by NBCUniversal’s launch of a call for tenders on the measures in August, calling for “measure independence.” In September, even as Nielsen CEO David Kenny acknowledged the measurement gap and bias resulting from the exclusion of broadband-only homes representing nearly 30% of TV homes in some local markets, ViacomCBS announced its partnership with the software and data platform, VideoAmp for TV measurement data. This decision paved the way for other networks to explore other ways to count their audiences.
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At the center of this growing dissatisfaction with the panel-based metering system was the connected TV revolution and the under-representation and misrepresentation of the vast audience universe that either completely cut the cord, either consumes both linear and CTV on all devices. and platforms. The industry was calling for a unified identifier that could bring fundamental changes to the current measurement system that over-simplifies viewing through CTV by extending television linear measurement standards to it and / or combining two sets of data. visualizations that do not have common metrics.
Hopes now rested in Nielsen ONE, Nielsen’s unique cross-media product delivering range and frequency metrics by delivering a holistic, deduplicated view of both ad content and performance, regardless of screen, device or platform.
Laying the groundwork for the implementation of the new flagship currency into local, national and digital measures by the end of September, Nielsen announced the âImpressions First Initiativeâ for impression-based buying and selling in the markets locations across the United States, as well as the integration of Broadband-Only Homes into the local measurement in January 2022. The impression-based currency will provide a more complete, accurate and representative audience measurement, as well as ‘added benefit of enabling cross-platform audience measurement, he said.
Starting its digital transformation in full swing, Nielsen unveiled a new brand campaign, including a new identity, in October, reflecting the company’s focus on delivering digital and global media solutions in three areas: measurement, audience results and content services. This change marked the combination and improvement of its measurement solutions into the unique cross-media measurement solution, Nielsen One.
Announcing the biggest development of the year and the culmination of a long wait, on December 21, 2021, Nielsen unveiled the first iteration of Nielsen ONE, “NielsenONE Alpha” with Disney and MAGNA as participants. The latest deduplicated advertising metric will continue to evolve with new features, enhancements, and model improvements leading up to the end product launch in the fourth quarter of 2022.
Aligning India with the Global Digital Shift
Although the connected TV / OTT ecosystem in India is not yet as developed and deeply rooted, it is relevant here to recall Barc India’s intention to initiate the âone video viewâ measure, announced in September 2020 by the former CEO Sunil Lulla. At the height of the TRP scam that erupted around the same time, part of the industry expressed doubts that some stakeholders were derailing the rating agency’s efforts and intentions to put set up a unified and multiplatform measurement system.
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The TRP committee formed following the scandal recommended measures to restore confidence in the current rating system by strengthening corporate governance within Barc India at board level through independent technical oversight, term limits and broad representation that minimizes conflicts of interest. The 39-page report also pushed for the formation of several rating agencies competing with Barc India and the creation of a dedicated regulator to oversee them all.
Even while addressing the pitfalls of linear television measurement, the four-member panel led by Prasar Bharati CEO Shashi Shekhar Vempati set the stage for a comprehensive transformation and democratization of systems and Country rating standards in accordance with the global digital transition.
Given the growing convergence between set-top boxes and smart media devices, and the emergence of hybrid boxes capable of both watching CAS-compliant linear TV and streaming OTT over the internet, the committee recommended a data mandate. return path (RPD) in all future decoders deployed by the distribution. Platform Operators (DPO). He also noted the emergence of smartphone-based applications capable of interacting with such hybrid boxes, paving the way for additional avenues for the capture and relay of RPD data.
In addition, he suggested that the government / regulator consider policy incentives and interventions, including FDI standards in the media audience measurement technology space, so that India becomes the hub of the industry. global innovation in this sector.
Recognizing the growth of digital advertising as well as the trend to watch linear television on interfaces other than traditional televisions and beyond the threshold of conventional homes, the committee underscored the need for regulatory interventions to foster innovation while enabling value chains to evolve, keeping pace with global trends and local market dynamics.
âOne of the hallmarks of digital innovations over the past decades has been disintermediation within value chains and disruption in industry areas, which has helped level the playing field and boosted the competetion. The world of linear television should be no exception to such disintermediation between buyers and sellers of media. There is no reason why new advertising models such as platform-based advertising, location-based advertising, programmatic advertising, etc. obstacles to the emergence of more efficient business models.
The above recommendations are both achievable and necessary given the pace of television viewing in India. According to mediasmart India CTV Report 2021, Viewing of CTV in India is on the rise and increased by 31%, compared to 81% globally. Even though India is still a young market, it has enormous potential for consumer adoption of CTV. As of April 2020, 21% of households that watched CTV were wire cutters (households that cut the wire in the past five years), while 22% were wireless households (households without a cable / satellite subscription during of the last five years).
The Ormax Media study estimates the Indian OTT audience universe at 353.2 million people, which translates into a penetration of 25.3%. According to various other estimates, the figure, including YouTube, is around 500 million. When it comes to CTV adoption, Madison’s second quarter report found that smart TV shipments grew nearly 65%, accounting for 80% of total TV shipments. Their massive adoption has been fueled by starting prices as low as Rs. 15,000.
Given that television as a medium still has tremendous growth potential in India, preparing for a connected future can seem like a long time at this point. However, the Indian market, which is often referred to as ‘underdeveloped’, is also a curious market where the digital revolution is being driven by smartphones that have overtaken PCs as their primary or staple medium. With the current regulatory regime appearing to accelerate the clear segmentation of audience between Free Dish and streaming services by allegedly deterring pay / cable TV, we might have more surprises.