Report: Multiscreen Data Changing TV Viewership Numbers

The final season of “Game of Thrones” set weekly viewership records for both the series and HBO network. Much of that data is attributed to how consumers have changed watching TV from a live event to on-demand and over-the-top streaming video.

New analysis from nonprofit Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) in the United Kingdom contends traditional “overnight” viewership data represents only part of the picture. Indeed, displacement viewing has made tracking data correctly more complicated.

BARB suggests that on average people watch 29.3 daily minutes of time-shifted TV content, which results in a 15% uptick in overnight viewership. Sometimes that margin is even greater.

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Live viewing for the first episode of reality series “Shipwrecked” on Jan. 28th was watched by 219,000 people. But the 7-day viewership tally ballooned to 685,000.

TV viewership isn’t limited to the television anymore, thanks to TV Everywhere apps.

“Love Island” gained 27% incremental viewing from non-TV devices, while “Family Guy” viewership increased 8%. Nonetheless, as a whole, non-TV set devices add less than 2% to TV set viewing, according to BARB.

The report found that 1.15 million people watched the second episode of “Save Me” via Sky On Demand pre-broadcast. This was more than half of the total broadcast audience of 2.19 million. This trend increased throughout the series, with the final episode watched by 83% of viewers via Sky On Demand pre-broadcast.

BARB believes re-examining viewership trends is doubly important among the younger demo. Ad-supported YouTube and SVOD services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video remain the top challengers to pay-TV.

The report suggests that in 2018, unidentified viewing accounted for 48 daily minutes for all individuals, rising to 71 minutes for 16-34-year-olds.

BARB believes that for television to become a more efficient, targeted and digital-like medium, content and distribution need to be more vertically integrated.

“In this future, new measurement opportunities may complement the data offered by BARB through the likes of set-top box data. A more digital-like television future offers the opportunity to deliver precision at scale,” read the report.

Trusted and accurate measurement remains essential to accountability, planning and optimization, and increasingly so in a world where we see displacement, fragmentation and disruption.

“Ultimately, we need to understand the value that each [viewer] exposure drives for advertisers. The outcomes are what are important; measurement allows us to link exposure to value,” said BARB.

“The industry must come up with a measurement solution enabling better understanding of viewing patterns across all screens and channels. This is still some years away, even in the most advanced markets.”

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