By Doug Peiffer CEO OzTAM
February means back to school, back to work, and the end of summer cricket and tennis.
It also marks the return of commentary around an “official” ratings period — a throwback to the days of paper diaries and an anachronism given people watch television year-round, throughout the day, and increasingly on devices other than TV sets.
That’s why OzTAM has always measured minute-by-minute viewing behaviour 24/7/365 on in-home TV sets and, since 2016, for online-delivered TV content (broadcaster video-on-demand, or BVOD, captured by our Video Player Measurement service).
Every minute of that viewing counts in official OzTAM ratings, whether watched live or at a later date — being within 28 days for linear TV played back through the TV set, or at any time with BVOD.
Consolidated 28-day viewing data shows overnight ratings have long been only one piece of the total TV picture. Our measurement services have been evolving to meet a changing viewing landscape, given the average Australian home has 1.8 TV sets but 6.6 screens in total (many have more!). People are consuming broadcast content across all of them, inside and outside the home.
Getting a true picture of total TV viewing has been a challenge. The imminent launch of Virtual Australia, or VOZ, however, is set to change that, bringing these two world-class measurement systems together in a single database, creating Australia’s new total TV reporting standard for viewing on all screen types, wherever and whenever it takes place.
Getting here has been a complex task, and not all ratings providers around the world have approached it in the same way. To accommodate Australia’s unique characteristics, including population size and concentrated population centres, OzTAM, Regional TAM and Nielsen have spent the past three years devising VOZ.
Our market-specific approach combines the TAM and VPM systems and deploys a synthesised panel to create a virtual profile of 25 million “individuals”. With VOZ we can say who is watching broadcast content, what they’re watching, the amount of time they watch, and the screens they’re watching on. Crucially, we can see the combined reach of TV and BVOD, and the amount of viewing exclusively on TV sets, or only on connected devices (some people access most or all of their TV content via BVOD services.)
Early insights from VOZ will begin to be reported in late February, with daily data available from late April.
Doug Peiffer is CEO of OzTAM, Australia’s official source of TV audience measurement.