Described as a crisis in methodology, the TV industry’s inability to properly measure consumption outside of the now limited linear broadcast landscape (a la Nielsen Media Research) has segued into the unveiling of a TV demand portal for complete digital measurement from Parrot Analytics. It is known, at present, simply as Demand Measurement.
Launched earlier this year, this new global cross-platform, demand TV measurement system has been in the planning stages for four years.
“We are seeing — and we are all feeling in our businesses — that we are operating on blind faith, without really knowing the extent of who is really consuming our content,” said Bruce Tuchman, a member of the board of Parrot Analytics, a company that measures and predicts demand for content through cutting-edge technology and data science. “And that blind faith is beginning to erode. The impact financially by not seeing the entire picture, domestically and globally, can be significant.”
Wared Seger, CEO of Parrot Analytics, presented Parrot’s new offering to members of the International Academy of Television Arts & Sciences and of the press.
“We process and weigh over one billion data points per day from every single country, using every single benchmark, capturing the content popularity,” said Seger. “This is not extrapolation and these are not surveys. These are actual interactions; someone somewhere is interacting with a TV show and we are capturing and weighting that, and we are combining all of this into a global unit system. This is not designed to compete with linear ratings. We offer the complete global picture.”
“From a linear ratings standpoint, Mr. Robot, for example, looks like it lost a good portion of its audience in season two,” said Seger. “From the traditional ratings [standpoint] it did. But, via demand measurement, people are streaming Mr. Robot, they are watching it, they are discussing it, they are critiquing it, they are talking about it, they sharing it and they promoting it. Combined and weighted, the demand is going up from a total measurement perspective, which we update on a daily basis.”
Citing access to the largest data audience sets in the world, the challenge, according to Seger, is not in the fragmentation.
“Every industry undergoes some form of fractionalization and, ultimately, consolidation,” he said. “But the question we have to address, in an age with more choices for content and distribution channels, is just how popular is your show…really? You must examine all these benchmarks to answer that question, and certainly not just the linear ratings.”
To get that full picture, Parrot Analytics studies how viewers engage with TV programs across a variety of platforms, from linear ratings to video streaming, social media, file sharing and peer-to-peer consumption spanning 249 countries. The service also looks at less quantitative information, such as how many people are blogging about the show.
Using the platform, “media companies can understand demand for content across all content distribution platforms, in all markets across the world, based on the variety of ways to consume content,” said Seger.
According to Seger, the platform can even offer some indication of whether a show is going to succeed or fail before it even gets to air, and ideally, give information that helps networks fine-tune their marketing to prevent a negative outcome.
“It’s a combination of tools we put together to answer these questions, which offers a more complete picture,” he said. “Fans interact with content through video-streaming sites, social media, blogs, fan sites, wikis, file sharing and so much more. We capture it all. We don’t replace the traditional ratings; we complement them. Demand measurement gives you another angle and another way to understand how well your show is doing.”
[Image of Parrott Analytics CEO Wared Seger courtesy of Marc Berman]