Archive for TV

Scenes from the 2019 CIMM Summit

CIMM logoThe eighth annual CIMM Cross-Platform Video Measurement & Data Summit was held on February 7th at the Time Warner Center in New York. As always, this annual fixture in the media research industry provided an interesting discussion about the state of media measurement.

Among the recurrent themes were:

  • C-3 and C-7 measures, meant to be temporary, are now 12 years old and do not seem to be going anywhere – despite not reflecting today’s viewers
  • Greater transparency is still needed at all levels
  • The need for “ground truth panels” seems to be making a comeback
  • Attribution continues to be the hot topic in measurement

In something of a change from previous editions, no-one from Nielsen or Comscore (or any start-up measurement service for that matter) presented or was part of a panel.

The hand-outs, press releases, and deck from the summit are available on the CIMM website, as are materials from earlier summits.

This was the first CIMM Summit since CIMM was acquired by the ARF back in October. I hope that CIMM and the ARF will continue to offer this summit, and to keep it free so that all those with an interest are able to attend.

Detailed Notes

Below are notes from each of the panels/presentations. These are by necessity distilled down based on how quickly I could take notes, so they do not reflect the totality of the discussions.

After a short kick-off by CIMM CEO and Managing Director Jane Clarke, the first session featured an interview of Krishan Bhatia of NBCUniversal.

  • C-3 and C-7 are outdated by today’s viewing habits
  • C-Flight introduction by NBCU came with little pushback. There is some friction around the work but not about the concept
  • They are working on attribution, campaign measurement, and how to prove performance across all NBCU media
  • He is skeptical that there will ever again be a one-size-fits-all solution
  • 34% of NBCU consumption is now on digital – expect it to be up to 50% very soon

The next session was a panel featuring Rob Master of Unilever, David Cohen of MAGNA, and Laura Nathanson of Disney to discuss business needs for cross-measurement and metrics.

  • RM: There is no common solution. Industry needs to develop a common vernacular to discuss. Can’t be perfect – what is now? near? next?
  • LN: Disney adjusted by moving all media sales under one group. The “plumbing” is an issue – need to plumb and test
  • DC: C-3 and C-7 are no longer sufficient. Need to move to exact commercial minute measurement. In the mid-/long-term, need to look at audible and visual measures across all platforms.
  • RM: Unilever doesn’t care so much about addressability – they have broad markets
  • LN: But then Unilever should use addressability to send different creative to various segments within a broad demo
  • One key thought to close:
    • RM: Transparency and dialog around counting
    • DC: Let’s “start by starting” – need to get moving
    • LN: Just because it’s hard doesn’t mean we shouldn’t do it – it’s the reason we should do it

Next, an overview of this year’s update of the CIMM TV attribution whitepaper was presented by Jim Spaeth and Alice Sylvester of Sequent Partners. Attribution then discussed by Claudio Marcus of Freewheel and Lisa Giacosa of Spark Foundry.

  • What is the state of the art of attribution?
    • LG: I’m excited and hungry [for more]
    • CM: Like in the UK train stations, “Watch the Gap”. There are gaps in cross-platform attribution, and brand/longer-term effects
  • CM: Biggest effect so far on automotive. Auto had moved money from TV to digital – but attribution showed TV drove the digital exposures. Moving back to TV. Media & Entertainment another area – TV program promotion
  • LG: Need to understand content effects. Can’t just follow short-term ROI over a cliff.
  • JS: Need to use baseline sales as a basis for calculating incremental effects of attribution media

Following a break, there were brief updates of the Taxi Complete (AD-ID and EIDR) and Data Label initiatives.

Another panel discussed Deduplicating Reach for Content and Ads, featuring Radha Subramanyam of CBS, Eric Cavanaugh of Publicis, Beth Rockwood of Turner, and Ed Gaffney of GroupM and moderated by Scott McDonald of the ARF.

  • EC: A good quality attribution should be getting deduplication as a byproduct
  • BR: how things fit together is a big issue
  • RS: need both counting and outcome measures. But we need to up-level the conversation: There are lots of products and data, but are we any closer to making sense of media and marketing together? Need a commonsense playbook at a high level.
  • EG: Need dedup in place before this years upfront – or 2020 upfront.
  • RS: Vendors need to listen closely to needs. Their solutions are not necessarily addressing the needs.
  • EC: We also need to know about content to be able to place ads in context.
  • EG: Blindspots are getting smaller but there are new ones popping up every day
  • EC: We are getting one-off fixes to blindspots but need integrated response
  • RS: Integrating projectable and non-projectable samples is doable but needs more investment
  • BR: The technical issues of integration are easier than making the theory work
  • RS: In terms of privacy, one-to-many is less threatening than true one-to-one marketing

Is there One Metric to Rule Them All? Kavita Vazirani of NBCU, Brian Hughes of MAGNA, George Ivie of the MRC, and Sheryl Feldinger of Google discussed this topic.

  • BH: Need exact minute commercial ratings
  • SF: Need equitable (with TV) transparency at exposure and second-by-second ratings
  • KV: Need to measure effort vs return. Shouldn’t we be focusing on cross-platform measures rather than arguing about TV measures?
  • BH: already does second-by-second with MediaOcean, which is an old platform – so it can be done today
  • GI: MRC is working on standard definitions with partners and industry, aiming for impression-based duration-weighted data by 2021. Measures to include exposure, viewability, duration-weighting, complete exposure to an ad.
  • SF: Wants absolute exposure. His work shows that a 5 or 10 second exposure elicits a similar response, regardless of the total length of an ad
  • KV: Disagrees. She claims the only time a 6 second ad worked was as part of a larger integrated campaign
  • GI: There is a big gap in content measurement in digital. For content measurement in a cross-platform world, customer journey analysis is something that should be syndicated (eg, third party)
  • All: agree audio status needs to be known (muted vs non-muted)

The last panel talked about Audience-Based Buying Platforms for TV/Video. This panel included Bryson Gordon of Viacom, Mike Law of Dentsu Aegis, Bob Ivins of NCC Media, and Mike Welch of Xandr.

  • BI: Inertia is real. Need to get marketers to “cross the bridge” and not turn back halfway across. We need standards and transparency.
  • MW: Can help reach low incidence/low viewing HHs
  • BI: Need an automated platform like Google and Facebook. Still too much manual transfers between different applications
  • BG: users on OpenAP have already created 1,872 segments
  • Opportunities in 2019
    • BI: More inventory and optimization
    • ML: Platform, optimization, interactivity
    • BG: Automated workflows, cross-platform delivery, unified posting
    • MW: Platform, true cross-platform delivery

To wrap up the afternoon, Jack Smith of GroupM told us about what he saw at the 2019 CES conference.

  • The three areas to pay most attention to are Assistants (Alexa, etc); Autonomy (self-driving cars); and Simulation (VR/AR).
  • It is important to understand how algorithms work – what products are suggested when Alexa is asked to buy something. Should brands have an avatar to speak for themselves, rather than relying on Amazon etc.
  • Most everything will still be on screens. How are these to be measured?
  • Top takeaways: 1) Interface revolution. 2) Immersion environments. 3) The ethics of tech in general.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, “The Genius Box”. Details here . 

2019 MIE Conference Summaries

MIE Conference logoAs guest-blogger for the 2019 edition of the Media Insights & Engagement Conference (which is put on by knect365), I wrote up summaries of the keynotes and the break-out sessions I attended. You can find the daily summaries on the knect365 website:

Day 1 of the 2019 MIE conference: Day 1 (Jan 29 2019)
Day 2 of the 2019 MIE conference: Day 2 (Jan 30 2019)
Day 3 of the 2019 MIE conference: Day 3 (Jan 31 2019)

Also, read my three pre-conference posts here:

2019’s New SVOD Services: Blitzkrieg or War of Attrition?

Connected TVs: Corporate Connections as Important as Internet Connections

Does AVOD News Reveal a New Phase of SVOD?

 

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, “The Genius Box”. Details here . 

Does AVOD News Reveal a New Phase of SVOD?

My third post as a guest-blogger for the 2019 edition of the Media Insights & Engagement Conference (which is put on by knect365) asks if the recent flurry of AVOD news shows a new phase of SVOD.

“Hot on the heels of Nielsen’s announcement that its Total Ad Ratings product now includes OTT and mobile viewing comes NBC Universal’s announcement that it will be launching a new ad-supported OTT (AVOD) service in 2020. Other reports cover entry into the AVOD market of Amazon’s IMDb Freedive and Sinclair Broadcasting’s STIRR. On top of all this, Viacom acquired Pluto TV. What’s causing this mini-land rush on AVOD?”
Read the rest of the post at the knect365 website here.


MIE Conference logo
Attend the MIE conference, January 29-31 in Los Angeles to hear industry thought leaders on this topic and many others. Details about the conference can be found here.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, The Genius Box. Details here . 

Smart TVs: Corporate Connections as Important as Internet Connections

My second post as a guest-blogger for the upcoming 2019 edition of the Media Insights & Engagement Conference (which is put on by knect365) discusses the choices CE manufacturers have to make to ally their smart TV sets with third-party smart home hubs.

“Last week, the news about connected TV sets came fast and furious as the annual CES got underway. And the connections in the news aren’t so much about streaming to the set, although that’s the byproduct. It’s about the corporate connections between TV set manufacturers and smart systems.”
Read the rest of the post at the knect365 website here.


MIE Conference logo
Attend the MIE conference, January 29-31 in Los Angeles to hear industry thought leaders on this topic and many others. Details about the conference can be found here.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, The Genius Box. Details here . 

NFL Ratings: Not Dead Yet

NFL logo/shieldFor the previous two years, would-be pundits acted like the barrow-man collecting dead bodies in Monty Python and the Holy Grail, throwing the NFL on the heap in the cart despite its protestations of “I’m not dead yet!.” Unlike the Holy Grail, where the old man was “helped” with a strong whack to the head, the NFL and NFL ratings have jumped off the cart looking increasingly hearty.

Ratings from the 2018 regular season show a 5% increase, compared with decreases of 10% and 8% the previous two years. Combined with a substantial ratings increase for the playoffs so far, and the NFL juggernaut appears to be coming up to speed. Recent doom and gloom aside, it is still a ratings powerhouse – it was just slightly less dominant in the previous two years.

Better Teams in Bigger Markets

It is likely much of this is simply due to team improvements and upgrades of matchups. Teams having good seasons and making the playoffs in 2018 after missing in 2017 are the LA Chargers (#2 Nielsen DMA), Chicago (#3), Dallas (#5), Houston (#7), Seattle (#13), Baltimore (#26), and Indianapolis (#28). These replace Buffalo (#52), Jacksonville (#42), Tennessee (#27), Pittsburgh (#24), Carolina (#23), Minnesota (#15), and Atlanta (#10).

The seven new 2018 playoff teams came from markets that on average rank 12th in population.  These replaced 2017 playoff teams that came from markets that on average ranked 27th in population. Making the reasonable assumption that playoff contention increases interest in and viewing of a team, the compounding of larger markets and higher interest levels certainly doesn’t hurt the NFL.

Even though it believes in franchise parity, the league is much healthier with its big market teams doing well. To paraphrase George Orwell’s Animal Farm, all teams are equal – but some are more equal than others.

The return of teams with a national following, like Dallas and Chicago helps, and Pittsburg was competitive until the final week of the regular season. Even teams that mostly looked hapless – like the NY Jets and NY Giants in the #1 TV market – drew audiences to see their rookie franchise saviors (Sam Darnold and Saquon Barkley, respectively) play.

Factors Outside the Lines

Certainly other external factors unrelated to competition have had their impact. Matchups for Monday and Thursday night games were judged much improved over previous years. This season saw little in the way of the national anthem controversy nor the issue of brain injury for players, which may have affected viewing the past couple of seasons. Even the move of the Chargers (from DMA #29 San Diego) and the Rams (from #21 Saint Louis) to the L.A. (#2) market may finally be paying off as indifferent Los Angelenos begin to root for their returned franchises.

And the NFL is subject to the same forces that are impacting viewing overall. These include the long-term impact of Peak TV, fragmentation of viewing, and the siphoning off of viewing time in favor of other media like videogames. Their ratings are indeed down on a net basis over the past few years despite the revival this season. But just like the broadcast networks or ESPN, the NFL still commands a dominant – even if decreasing – audience and will continue to command premium rates for the networks that carry its games.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, The Genius Box. Details here . 

Friday Finds: “Tales From the Tour Bus”

Friday Finds shares a piece of content I’ve recently discovered on broadcast, cable, or streaming TV.

Today’s find: Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus
Genre: Half hour animated documentary
Studio: Judgemental Films/Zipper Bros/Sutter Road
Find it on: Cinemax, seasons 1 (8x) and 2 (8x)

Tales from the Tour Bus poster

Since the demise of its “Skinemax” adult late-night fare, Cinemax has been struggling to define an identity. It’s unfortunately best known as the destination for big brother HBO’s hand-me-down movies, and Canadian or British series likely already passed over by PBS, Amazon Prime, and Netflix.

All that being said, there are a few glimmers of hope. Among these is Mike Judge Presents: Tales from the Tour Bus. Although I’ve come late to the series, I’ve been an enthusiastic viewer since discovering it in its second season.

Tales from the Tour Bus is an animated documentary series, created by Mike Judge. Judge is most famous as the creator of the animated series Beavis and Butthead and King of the Hill, as well as bringing us HBO’s Silicon Valley.

Now, I will admit an “animated documentary” does sound a bit odd, but it works quite well. Interviews are shown via what I presume is some type of rotoscoping (animating regular video). And animation also allows the re-creation of interesting scenes from the subjects’ lives.

I first tuned in when the description of Season 2’s opening episode caught my eye as I scrolled through my FiOS program guide – George Clinton and P-Funk. Despite being a blue-eyed, white Boomer from suburban New Jersey, I do love me some funk, so I tuned in. The episode immediately grabbed my attention and it turns out Season 2 is all about funk. I watched each week as new episodes covered subjects like Bootsy Collins, Morris Day and The Time, Rick James, and James Brown.

Season One covered country stars such as Johnny Paycheck, Waylon Jennings, and Jerry Lee Lewis. I had to go back and catch up on via Cinemax video-on-demand. Country’s not so much my thing, but the format of the series still made it interesting.

On the Road Again

So take a detour from your usual viewing and check out the first two seasons of Tales from the Tour Bus. No news yet on a renewal for a third season, but let’s hope Cinemax keeps this magical mystery tour around for a while yet.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, The Genius Box. Details here . 

2019’s New SVOD Services: Blitzkrieg or War of Attrition?

I’m guest-blogging again for the upcoming 2019 edition of the Media Insights & Engagement Conference. My first post deals with legacy media giants finally jumping into the deep end of the OTT/SVOD pool in 2019.

“The last year of the Twenty-Teens will finally see the emergence of the legacy media’s competitors to Netflix. Coming out in 2019, they will be ready to do battle in the early Twenty-Twenties for America’s audience. Whether this will be a come-from-behind victory, or just rearranging the deckchairs on the Titanic, should be clear relatively quickly.”
Read the rest of the post here.

 

MIE Conference logo
Attend the MIE conference, January 29-31 in Los Angeles to hear industry thought leaders on this topic and many others. Details for the conference can be found here.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Don’t miss future posts by signing up for email notifications here .  
– Read my new book about TV, The Genius Box. Details here . 

A Magnolia Channel Could Bring Discovery Gaines

chip and joanna gainesNot surprisingly, news came earlier this week that Chip and Joanna Gaines – the design power couple behind the Fixer Upper series and the Magnolia brand – are coming back to television. This time, not solely as series stars but curators of their own network.

Discovery, which absorbed Scripps Networks and their HGTV, Food, Cooking, DIY, and other channels, is behind the offer to the Gaines.

I’ll make the assumption that their new network will replace one of Discovery’s lesser channels. (I’m looking at you, American Heroes and Destination America.) As noted in my new book, “The Genius Box,” large network groups took the same strategy as CPG companies in supermarkets. They filled program guide “shelves” with little-wanted brand variations, just to prevent the competition taking that space. But this resulted in many weak networks that offer little differentiation and lots of repurposed programming.

In this respect, the move to offer the Gaines the chance to rebrand and reprogram one of these networks makes sense. It can’t help but to be an improvement on what’s already on one of these lower-tier networks. And the cross-media potential of the Magnolia brand must be very enticing.

Drawbacks?

The drawback? Tying a network to a single personality has never had a good track record. Even the Queen of Media, Oprah, has been unable to make Discovery’s own OWN much more than a niche success. Nor was she able to break Oxygen before that. The problem is that even the best-loved personalities have a certain shelf life. Cable networks almost inevitably stray from their original targeted concepts to chase larger, broader audiences. And there is also the consideration that a “Magnolia” channel will cannibalize the audience of Discovery’s existing set of ex-Scripps lifestyle channels.

It sounds like any “Magnolia” network launch or rebrand is still well in the future. Regardless of potential negatives, such a move will certainly meet one rule of the Peak TV era: a brand strong enough to support its own OTT app.

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Read his new book, “The Genius Box” – details here
Get notifications of new posts – sign up at right or at bottom of this page.

Stan Was The Man… ‘Nuff Said

Stan LeeIt’s with a heavy heart today that I read about the passing of Stan Lee. Stan was the leader who originated much of the Marvel Universe in concert with his team at Marvel. While there may be some discussion about his exact role in the creation of the many characters invented under his watch, there can be no dispute that he was the orchestrator of the development of the Marvel Universe.

While his time at Marvel dated back to the 1940s, and he left the comics side of Marvel in the 1980s, it can be put forward that he is one of the most influential creators of entertainment IP of this, the 21st century. Perhaps no single person other than J.K. Rowling and her Harry Potter franchise can put claim to having such a strong hand in creating the media IP that power today’s media companies.

Superpowering Disney

The acquisition of Marvel is what keeps Disney successful, and a buyer rather than the target of acquisition. The amazingly successful implementation of the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU) has spawned 20 films – with different but interconnected characters – in 10 years. The Marvel IP will help drive the new Disney streaming service, Disney+, as well as new rides and lands in the Disney theme parks. And don’t forget all the lucrative licensed goods that come out of Marvel as well.

The success of the MCU might also have an influence from Stan Lee. While the movies have had many writers and directors, Kevin Fiege has been the ringmaster who has shepherded the separate pieces into a successful continuum. This is quite similar to Stan’s role with the original comics, and has helped avoid the chaos that marks the DC Comics movie franchise.

On a personal note, I will always remember Stan taking a minute to talk to my son, who was 10 at the time, as he was traveling between panels at the 2007 New York Comic Con. It as quite a thrill for young Philip.

Excelsior!

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Read his new book, “The Genius Box” – details here
Get notifications of new posts – sign up at right or at bottom of this page.

A Potential STB-Sized Hole in Pay TV Revenue

set-top boxAs noted in one of my previous posts, at least some pay TV companies are finally pushing forward to eliminate set-top boxes (STBs) in favor of apps loaded to smart TVs. In that post, I alluded to the question of forgone revenue. A recent article in the L.A. Times put an estimate to that question.

The author of the article did some digging into costs and revenues. By his estimates, STBs cost between $150 and $250 as delivered to pay TV providers. But by average revenue from leases of those boxes, pay TV companies receive around $230 a year. This means it only takes about one year for companies to recover their expense for the box. Every month’s revenue after that is pure profit.

In terms of gross revenue, the author estimated Comcast’s Xfinity brings in $2.6 billion a year from STBs; and Charter brings in $1.4 billion. So while a billion may not buy what it used to, it’s still a large number to cut out of pay TV revenues. This is especially true with cord-cutters and skinny bundles also making a slow but sure impact.

Filling the Gap

There is surely money that can be saved from the overhead required to maintain a large stock of STBs – both administrative and in-field – but that is unlikely to fill the revenue gap. As I note in my previous post, to what new and inventive charges will subscribers be subjected in order to maintain overall revenues? And will that drive away even more consumers fed up with bring nickled-and-dimed to death by the legacy pay TV providers?

David Tice is the principal of TiceVision LLC, a media research consultancy.
Read his new book, “The Genius Box” – details here
Get notifications of new posts – sign up at right or at bottom of this page.