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.”

Comcast Returns ‘Watchathon’ Binge-Viewing Week

Comcast Cable April 11 announced it is bringing back the “Xfinity Watchathon Week” April 16-22, affording subscribers non-stop, on-demand access to thousands of hours of content – including over-the-top.

Launched six years ago as a TV Everywhere antidote to Netflix and OTT video, Comcast for the first time is offering Watchathon to Xfinity Internet-only subscribers and programming from Netflix and more than two dozen SVOD services, such as Acorn TV, AMC Premiere, FX+, Lifetime Movie Club, History Vault and even DOGTV, which offers a selection of programming made just for man’s best friend.

Eligible subs can also watch thousands of movies and TV shows from more than 50 networks, including AMC, FX, HBO, MTV, NBC, Showtime, and Starz.

Comcast will also offer a subset of programming to its Internet-only subs via the Xfinity Stream app and portal.

“This year, we’re … offering X1 customers a unique opportunity to sample and explore the best programming from dozens of traditional networks and studios, streaming services and emerging SVODs,” Daniel Spinosa, VP, video entertainment services, Comcast Cable, said in a statement.

Xfinity Internet-only subs have access to back episodes of HBO’s “Game of Thrones,” and ‘Westworld,” Showtime’s “Billions,” and “Homeland,” and Starz’s “Outlander,” and “Power,” among other programs.

The promotional week will enable Xfinity subs the option to explore dozens of third-party SVOD platforms, such as Acorn TV’s British hits, AMC Premiere, CuriosityStream’s documentary films and series, Daily Burn’s workout class, select shows from FX+, Gaiam TV Fit & Yoga fitness videos, History Vault’s historical and educational content, and Stingray Karaoke’s collection music.

“With voice control and the ability to surface our programming seamlessly within their experience, X1 provides networks like us with a unique platform for discovery alongside some of the best and most popular programming available today,” said Matthew Graham, GM, Acorn TV.

Ericsson, Telefónica Partner for TV Everywhere

Ericsson has partnered with Telefónica to power the Spanish telecom’s TV Everywhere initiatives in Latin America.

As part of the three-year deal, Ericsson Media Solutions will deploy its video storage and processing platform technology to enable Telefonica to bow seven-day catch up and time-shift services for TV programing to subscribers in 13 countries in the region – including Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia and Peru.

TV Everywhere services have been long championed by pay-TV operators as an antidote to third-party over-the-top video competitors such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Angel Ruiz, CEO, Ericsson Media Solutions, said service providers today are faced with huge libraries of content and HD recordings that they need to efficiently deploy as part of complex time-shifted TV services.

“This deployment will enable Telefónica to transform its service delivery by virtualizing the storage and processing capabilities of its servers ensuring that catch-up and VOD services are delivered reliably … to subscribers all over Latin America,” Ruiz said.

The deal builds on the long-standing collaborative partnership between the companies, which has lasted for more than a decade, and has already seen Ericsson technology deployed by Telefónica in Peru. Telefónica has also deployed Ericsson Media Solutions services in Spain.

Earlier this year, Telefónica announced a subscription streaming agreement with Viacom in Latin America. The global deal represented a first for Viacom with a mobile carrier to carry all its international TV channels, as well as mobile streaming apps and VOD content.