Evolution of TV: Measuring TV and Video Audiences Across All Screens

Anish Kattukaran / March 2016

As TV viewership shifts online to over-the-top services and connected devices, audience measurement models need to evolve. In our latest Evolution of TV article, we explore how combining TV panel-based ratings with digital census-based data will enable marketers to understand an ad's effectiveness in detail.

In households across the U.S., families still may gather to watch TV after dinner, but that picture looks far different today than it did even just a few years ago. Though people still consume video over-the-air or via cable, most viewers today also turn to devices like PCs, tablets, and smartphones while watching to get more information about the program that's on, communicate with others, or research an advertised product or service. Plus, TV consumption is increasingly becoming a digital video experience. Viewers rely more and more on connected TV devices (like Chromecast) and over-the-top services (like Hulu)—in addition to smartphones and personal computers—to watch their favorite shows and videos.

With this shift to TV delivered via the internet and across so many devices, and the massive amounts of actionable data this provides, panel-based TV ratings and the Gross Ratings Point (GRP) must evolve toward to a hybrid panel-plus-census model that incorporates many of the strengths that come with digital viewership.

Panel-based measurement and the GRP will continue to provide important color and context to the overall viewer picture. But as TV advertisers and programmers gain access to more precise reach and frequency data, the emphasis on these approaches will diminish. Census-based measurement, focused on impact, will become increasingly important. The effectiveness of a TV ad will be measured with much more granular detail and certainty, right alongside digital video ads—providing both advertisers and content owners with a single view of their audiences across all screens.

With the addition of digital census data and programmatic ad-buying capabilities, marketers can also understand the effectiveness of an ad in driving brand awareness, favorability, intent, loyalty, and sales, doing so faster than ever before possible on TV.

As a result, broadcasters and advertisers will have a better idea of who's watching and when, and the impact of a program or ad on individual viewers. Most importantly, it will allow marketers to tailor more personal ad experiences. And with all the real-time data at their fingertips, they will be able to optimize their campaigns on the fly.

Download the fifth part in this series below to explore the challenges and opportunity in measuring TV and video audiences across all screens.

New Data Shows Online Video Ads Drive Consideration, Favorability, Purchase Intent, and Sales