Home / TECHNOLOGY / All Eyes on You


All Eyes on You

by Ruchi Shroff on Sep 13, 2012


Measuring audience preferences.
Measuring audience preferences.

The long-awaited tview has finally been launched in the UAE. The television audience measurement system, or people meter, is meant to provide up-to-the-minute data on audiences and patterns in the country. Ruchi Shroff takes a closer look at what the industry has to say about the device.

Advertisers have always complained that there is a lack of ratings standards in the UAE. Due to this many international advertisers have shied away from investing in the local market. It has also been difficult to determine what shows and networks have historically done well due to lack of reliable data.

The Emirates Media Measurement Company’s (EMMC) people meter, the “tview,” is being touted as the answer to these troubles and more. The device generates transparent, accountable and reliable ratings that organizers hope will become the currency of the trade in the country.

“tview is a major step forward for the TV and advertising industry in the UAE, providing in-depth, objective data which can be used to make better programmes, improve TV schedules and help advertisers reach the people who are most interested in their products,” said EMMC’s general manager, Christopher O’Hearn.

Key Players
The MENA region has been plagued by low advertisement rates per capita compared to the high GDP per capita. According to Nick Grande, the managing director of Channel Sculptor, advertisement spending in the region needs to go up and in the absence of research there is a pressing need for “real market intelligence”. Channel Sculptor offers consulting and managed services on behalf of TV channels and networks.

Talks for launching a people meter have been going on for a while in the UAE. The project was the result of a Federal Cabinet initiative and has been led by the National Media Council and the Telecommunications Regulatory Authority.

It has been underway since January 2010 and was endorsed by the Ministerial Council for Services in March 2010. In 2011, the National Media Council entered into a joint venture agreement regarding the development and implementation of tview with leading broadcast entities, Abu Dhabi Media, Sharjah Media Corporation, Rotana Media, Etisalat and du to form EMMC. These companies agreed to collectively fund the project.

Kantar Media/TNS was selected to do the data collection, thus maintaining transparency in tview’s results. The Advertisers Business Group (ABG) was represented on the steering committee that oversaw the setup and formation of EMMC as well.

“This is the first project of its kind in the Gulf and I am very pleased that the UAE, with its thriving media sector, is leading the way,” said Ibrahim Al Abed, chairman of the EMMC and director-general of the NMC.

A new stakeholder can be added to the company by making an investment in agreement with the other shareholders. Further, the constitution of EMMC allows three non-shareholder members to be appointed to the company’s board to ensure outside involvement and transparency.

According to O’Hearn, the industry has been slow in accepting the new system. Media buyers, who would benefit from the data for advertising planning and airtime sales, have been a little reluctant to change over from the traditional Ipsos system.

Key industry players, including the ABG and media buying units, were consulted about the panel system and detailed technical discussions led to changes in the tview panel setup. This led to some delays in the launch, which is now taking place in October.

Article continues on next page ...

[[page-beak]]

Data Collection and Interpretation
While Kantar collects the data, EMMC ultimately owns it and will sell subscriptions as well as release data summaries in print and online. During the soft launch phase which started from July 1, EMMC is giving out free subscriptions.

Kantar Media, a member of WPP East, will set up and run the tview system and will be responsible for managing the panel, installing the tview boxes in the homes, collecting data and verifying it, and distributing the data results.

They will also install and maintain the software that manages the data called Infosys+ for tview subscribers. Kantar will also provide basic training to subscribers as well as report templates for better and easier data interpretation.

The first phase of the project involved large scale surveys and the setup of the sample panel representing the UAE population. Around the country, 850 homes have been chosen to take part and become the tview panel and have the people meter boxes installed in their homes connected to the television screens.

The panel covers about 3,500-4,000 people based on ages, gender, location, language, socio-economic status, education, occupation etc. Although they are not paid, they do receive some incentives to participate in the panel. The panel breakdown oversamples for Emirati households in order to ensure a sufficient sample.

Research shows that although local Emiratis make up a small percentage of the total population, they tend to be some of the biggest spenders and advertisers want to target them.
Once selected, a small box, much like a set-top box, is connected to each TV in a household.

The box has a small screen and is connected to the TV through an audio jack. When the TV is switched on, the tview automatically detects this, and asks which members of the household are present on a special handset/remote control where each member is allocated their own button to register when viewing or not.

The box collects audio clips every minute which are then stored in the memory. The data processing centre downloads the data from each home at 3am (including the audio data stored by the ‘AudioMatching’ system) from all the People Meters.

Each piece of audio data is unique and once matched tells what programs were being watched on each box. Once the data processing center receives the data, a panel specialist monitors if there are any irregularities. The data is then delivered at 11am with further logs delivered by 2pm.

At the moment, EMMC is monitoring 54 of the most popular free-to-air channels in the UAE. Paid sports channels are not included in the group because of their vast numbers. The information includes grids with detailed broadcast timings, programme name and genre as well as viewing in time-bands across the day.

Additionally the programs and spots are monitored so that each program can be rated, as can the ad-breaks and spots within the breaks. According to O’Hearn, some studies have shown that about 30% of the audience changes the channel within a 5 minute break. tview helps track where the audience is going and what they are watching.

O’Hearn says that the new system is much more efficient than the one used by Ipsos. In that, audiences were called on the phone and asked what they had watched in 15 minute slots the night before.

As expected, this created a lot of speculative data because many people didn’t remember what they watched or said what they thought the surveyor wanted to hear. For eg., no one mentioned watching reality dating shows, but a lot of people reportedly watched the news.

Effect on the market
Grande says that the tview can only have a positive effect on the market – “it’s a win-win for everyone.” The data provided by the tview will allow media buyers to analyze ratings not only for programmes and channels but also for the commercials that aired across any time segment.

This means that advertising spots themselves are rated and the performance of each spot is delivered the day after. In tview the effect of ad-break length and position is clearly visible and each campaign can be assessed by the gross ratings points.

In addition the information about the performance of the campaign can be analysed almost immediately. Further, the tview will help better align the industry and bridge the revenue gap, according to Grande.

As for broadcasters, they can now analyze ratings not only for programmes and channels but also for segments within any programme and special appearances. This means that granulated and up to the minute information about the programme is monitored, assessed and reported with results delivered for producers.

O’Hearn says that audiences in this region tend to be loyal to particular programmes and not always a channel. The tview will help determine what shows are more popular than others, making it easier to develop more focused content.

Another big advantage that both Grande and O’Hearn cite is the positive effect on the region. The UAE has been the leader in the Middle East and most other countries will follow suit. Saudi Arabia has already announced plans to launch a similar measurement system which will be extremely important as Saudis represent the largest chunk of population in the Middle East.

However, some people are not as optimistic about the project. Mazen Hayek, the group director of PR & commercial at MBC, says that while the tview is necessary it alone is not sufficient to gauge TV ratings. He says the interactive nature of the product leaves a lot up to the viewer as they have to turn on the box and interact to give accurate results.

Although the industry has been slow in accepting it, the tview is something the television industry needs to get more accurate results. Similar systems under other names, like INTAM in India and OzTAM in Australia have helped monitor the industry.

An easily accessible source of data is required for schedule planning, while the increasing complexities and cost of television airtime demand greater accountability.

Article continues on next page ...

[[page-beak]]

TVIEW: HOW IT WORKS

STEP 1
A small box, much like a set-top box, is connected to each TV in a household.The box has a small screen and is connected to the TV through an audio jack.

STEP 2
When the TV is switched on, the tview automatically detects this, and asks which members of the household are present on a special handset/remote control where each member is allocated their own button to register when viewing or not.

STEP 3
The box collects audio clips every minute which are then stored in the memory. The data processing centre downloads the data from each home at 3am (including the audio data stored by the ‘AudioMatching’ system) from all the People Meters.

STEP 4
Each piece of audio data is unique and once matched tells what programs were being watched on each box. Once the data processing center receives the data, a panel specialist monitors if there are any irregularities. The data is then delivered at 11am with further logs delivered by 2pm.


FEATURED COMMENT

Please click here to comment on this article

COMMENTS

Name *
Email *
City
Country
Subject: *
Comments: *
Math Question: *
Solve this simple math problem
and enter the result. E.g. for 1+3, enter 4.
Refresh the image if not clear
Remember me on this computer


NEWSLETTER SUBSCRIPTION
Email:
Digital Studio Awards
Twitter
Like Sound & Stage Middle East on
S&S ME facebook like
LinkedIn
Construction Week Online Middle East
Hotelier Middle East
Arabian Supply Chain Middle East
Arabian Oil and Gas Middle East
Utilities middle east
Construction Week Online India
Hotelier India
Digital Studio India

Official middle east partner to:

cabsat.com


palme-middleeast.com
iptv-forum.com
broadcast-asia.com
asbu.net
abu.org.my

RELATED ARTICLES



Advertisement

Official middle east partner to:









ibc
Articles