The South African Advertising Research Foundation (SAARF) is about to launch time-shifted viewing data, something Chris Eyre, managing director of SAARF TAMS contractor, AGB Nielsen Media Research, describes as a “shock to the system”.
On December 19, 2011, SAARF will release the much-anticipated PVR-viewing data results, giving the industry a comprehensive view of television watching in South Africa, that incorporates live and time-shifted viewing.
Addressing industry stakeholders at SAARF TAMS Information Days held around the country, Eyre said that the inclusion of the time-shifted TV universe will cause significant changes to the TV currency. “It’s going to be a bit of a ride, but I think we’ll enjoy it,” he said.
So what do you need to know to help ease the transition into the new TV currency?
The three TAMS viewing databases
On Monday, December 19, in addition to the usual live-viewing database that measures all real-time TV viewing, SAARF will release the first VOSDAL data.
More than half of all time-shifted viewing takes place on the same day as broadcast, as is the trend seen internationally. The Viewing On Same Day As Live (VOSDAL) database, captures all time-shifted viewing done on the same day as live viewing – where viewers have recorded a show, or paused it for even the briefest period of time, but then finish watching the show on the same day as it was broadcast.
A week later, on Monday, December 26, SAARF will release the seven-day consolidated viewing database for Monday, December 19. Basically, time-shifted viewing will be collected for seven days after the day of broadcast. Any content broadcast on Monday December 19, but viewed later in the following week, will be added back to the original transmission’s ratings.
From then on, each day will have data that shows Live and VOSDAL viewing, as well as seven days’ worth of time-shifted viewing of that day’s programmes.
The consolidated database, which will be the new TV currency, gives a comprehensive picture of all TV viewing, both live and time-shifted, picking up all live viewing and over 90% of all time-shifted viewing. Time-shifted viewing completed after seven days have elapsed will not be measured, which is the international standard.
From December 27, 2011 on, the industry will have access to the live, VOSDAL and consolidated seven-day databases.
What you need to know about the new PVR-inclusive currency
(All figures quoted are from TAMS time-shifted test data for week 42, October 17-24 , 2011)
- The TV universe will grow
PVR households account for 13% of all DStv households, and 4% of total TV households.
The inclusion of these households boosts the total TV universe by 3.3%, up from 10.690-million households to 11.046-million. While significantly impacting on the size of the universe, the inclusion has little effect on total TV viewing, with overall ratings remaining stable. Prime-time ratings however, are higher than is currently the norm.
DStv’s household universe rises from 2.489-million to 2.846-million, an increase of 14.3%. The platform’s total individual universe is up by 14.9%, from 8.495-million to 9.760-million.
- The upmarket segment will grow
When PVR households were excluded from the TAMS panel, the TAMS universe lost 356 000 upmarket households. The new DStv universe has 21.8% more Premium subscribers, pushing up the number of LSM 8-10 adult viewers in the satellite universe by 18.9%, and overall by 11%.
- DStv’s ratings will increase
The removal of PVR viewers in mid-2011, negatively affected the DStv universe, reducing it by 24%. While the loss did little to total TV ratings, DStv’s ratings decreased by 9%.
On 19 December, 2011, SAARF expects these movements to reverse, as PVR households return to the TAMS universe.
Current PVR-inclusive data for week 42 saw M-Net’s 6am-to-midnight percentage ratings rise by 9.1% in the total universe, while ratings for total DStv rose by 10.1%.
- Satellite’s gain is terrestrial’s loss
While DStv experiences the lion’s share of the changes brought about by the inclusion of PVR households, free-to-air broadcasters are also affected. This is because all free-to-air viewing in a DStv household, whether done through the decoder or on other analogue TVs in the house, is added back to that household’s viewing.
Looking at the test data for week 42, the inclusion of PVR households saw DStv gaining 13.8% more viewers in thousands across the day (from 6am to midnight), while SABC 1’s audience rose by 1.7%, SABC 2 by 1.2%, SABC 3 by 0.5%, and e.tv by 1.0%.
However, while PVR households do watch free-to-air, they are very light viewers of the analogue platforms, so their inclusion into the TAMS universe dilutes these channels’ ratings.
Once the PVR households are added into the mix, SABC 1’s percentage ratings drop by 1.7% (consolidated viewing, consisting of live and time-shifted), SABC 2’s drop by 2%, SABC 3’s by 2.5%, and e.tv’s ratings are down by 2.3% in the national market.
- A new way of watching TV will emerge
People with PVR are highly selective viewers, watching what they want, when they want. This leads to their having slightly lower levels of TV viewing than their non-PVR counterparts.
The genres most likely to be time-shifted are magazine shows, soaps, dramas and sitcoms. In the main, there is not time-shifting on sport and news shows.
Commercial breaks are also on the list of content that is time-shifted, although Eyre comments that “bad advertising” is more likely to be adversely affected. “Commercials which viewers like and feel are worth watching seem to maintain their viewership ratings, while commercials deemed as poor are given the fast-forward treatment,” he says.
- Users will be able to create their own viewing subsets
The new official TAMS currency is the seven-day consolidated database, which includes live viewing and a week’s worth of time-shifted viewing of that broadcast.
The software houses will pre-create three ‘building blocks’ for the end user: Live; Live plus VOSDAL; and Consolidated seven-day viewing.
End users will not however, be restricted to these codes. Users will either be able to build their own codes or can request that their software house create specific codes for them. For instance, users could have a ‘Live plus two days’ viewing subset, or ‘VOSDAL only’. This is especially useful for those wanting to measure the viewing of time-sensitive advertising, while those interested in awareness building would use the consolidated database.