Solving the Streaming TV Measurement Riddle

Streaming TV, already a growing medium, accelerated in 2020 with the pandemic.

According to a Nielsen Total Audience report from 2020, streaming now accounts for 25% of all television minutes in homes.

In the same report, streaming time increased by 60 minutes from Q2 2019 to Q2 2020:

An eMarketer Report from April 2020 shows that time spent with digital video continues the upward trend:

Accordingly, OTT (“over the top” – any TV that requires an internet connection) is becoming more and more standard in media buys, offering several advantages:

  • Used in combination with linear TV (the original – cable) helps brands reach more viewers with an unduplicated audience.
  • OTT commercial space is less cluttered than that of linear TV. The amount of commercial time on OTT is about half of that on Linear.
  • OTT allows for enhanced, granular targeting capabilities.

But OTT continues to suffer from measurement challenges. The latest ways for advertisers to assess OTT’s effectiveness are quite like linear TV solutions by assessing how a media buy’s channels work together:

  • What metrics popped while OTTT was running? Website traffic is free to measure, and can be used directionally
  • Brand lift can be measured through a paid study that can be tied back to the campaign. These studies can determine if there was a change in perception of the brand through awareness, favorability, or intent.
  • Store visits may also require a paid solution to measure, but could also experience a lift while OTT is live
  • Was there an increase on off-line or online sales while OTT was in market?
  • Many people watch TV with devices in hand. Did mobile or tablet search demand increase while OTT was running?

One third party solution of interest is TVSquared, a platform focused on solving TV measurement for advertisers, brands, and publishers.   They measure how people are watching across screens.  TVSquared can provide reach/frequency, unique reach, outcomes, and audience using datasets at scale.

As linear and digital lines become blurred, the industry will continue to wrestle with solutions for measurement and impact.  With further fragmentation, the solution will unfortunately become complex and pricey.


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