Measurement is a fascinating, oft-overlooked topic, which doesn’t get enough attention. This matters as measurement is vital to the television industry, and to the media sector more generally.
The TV advertising market is worth billions of pounds in the UK, tens of billions of dollars in the US, and hundreds of billions globally.
This means that getting measurement right for a digital age is critical: trusted measurement is fundamental to the industry, but the job is far from done – video content remains in a state of metamorphosis, and advertisers are arguably befuddled.
How is video consumption likely to look by 2022, and what will the imperatives for measurement be then? 2022 is just four years away, so it’s tangible enough to influence industry decision-making today.
Video consumption in 2022
Firstly, what will video consumption look like in 2022? We anticipate that it will have reached a new peak in terms of minutes of viewing per person per day. This viewing will be more atomised than ever, spread across an ever-widening array of devices.
One reason for this new peak will be better mobile networks, with improvements to 4G and the introduction of 5G, and better smartphone screens, both of which will make it even easier to watch video on the go.
However, while smartphones will be the default for short-form content, TV sets will likely remain the dominant device for watching long-form content.
In Deloitte’s Mobile Consumer Survey 2017, we asked interviewees in the UK which was their preferred device for certain activities. Smartphones were the preferred device for many activities, including short-form video, but the TV set was the preferred screen among all age groups for watching long-form content, be it live, catch-up or on-demand.
In 2022, TV sets will still be in 90% of homes and television will continue to deliver the watercooler moments that advertisers crave.
Despite this, over the next four years, the amount of traditional television viewing is likely to fall. Research from Thinkbox on video consumption in 2016 showed that 16-24-year-olds are watching less traditional television than the UK population as a whole, in favour of consuming video content via other methods such as SVOD and social media platforms. Our Mobile Consumer Survey indicates that the behaviour of young people is replicated by all ages around five to eight years later.
This means that while there will be more video consumption in 2022, less than half of it may be accounted for by live television. There will be a huge increase in the range of SVOD services available.
Broadcasters in the UK and worldwide are currently looking at the success of SVOD services and the reduced technology costs and deciding to follow suit and go direct to consumers. Disney is launching an ESPN SVOD service this year and a Disney branded SVOD offering in 2019. We predict many content creators will similarly be diversifying into SVOD, often as a complementary offering.
We must also consider that video is utterly heterogeneous which in turn means that all video impacts aren’t necessarily equal, so we need to think about the types of thing we measure and why.
There are many hundreds of millions of screens that can show video around the world, but each video format has different attributes. A video watched on a smartphone screen will have a different impact to one seen on a 50-inch screen. In turn, there is a question about the size of the screen and the effectiveness of the advertising message. There is ample research showing the differential impact of content watched on screens of different sizes. For me this says that they are of different value and measuring the audiences needs to recognise these differences.
We are unlikely to have a consistent methodology for measuring everything by 2022, so we need to start making choices on what to measure, from screen size and audio quality to video visibility and prominence and adjacent content.
Video measurement in 2022
Measurement is likely to be as important in 2022 as it is today, if not more. There will be more data, richer data and more data sets than ever before, but these will be owned by multiple parties, and they may not be inclined to share.
By 2022 we will be able to collect more data sets than ever. It’s technically possible that the entirety of a purchase journey could be tracked from view to action to transaction across multiple channels, devices and networks, even if the purchase was weeks, months or even years after the first view. The problem is that these data sets are in different silos. Data sets could be merged, but will the various companies that own these data permit it? Unless we change the conversation, there will be few collective data sets, which will impinge on the effectiveness of audience measurement and businesses that depends on it.
Regulation may also thwart data sharing. Our Mobile Consumer Survey indicated a lack of understanding by consumers about the data they are sharing with services. Three quarters of UK adults claimed that they know their data are being used by companies and they are aware of the risks. However, half said they never share their email address online, yet they are on social networks. Two thirds said they don’t share their phone numbers but they are on WhatsApp.
The advent of GDPR this year will also have a big impact on how we collect data. It will necessitate a different approach: greater consent, awareness and collaboration around the data sets you are collecting and this will have an impact on audience measurement and the data sets we can expect to see in 2022.
Imperatives for measurement in 2022
In conclusion, what are the imperatives for measurement in 2022 for the industry as a whole? It is important to recognise the significance of measurement today and in the medium term, and to understand what advertisers expect and the digital platforms currently deliver. We must then evaluate the consequences if television measurement fails to match what digital platforms offer.
Data sets are proliferating, but not all data are equally important, and not all sets will be available to access or link together. This lack of collective agreement will mean people will have to identify which data sets and combinations are really important for the success of their businesses, and then have collaborative conversations with their owners. Finally, we must establish the available technologies for delivering measurement and execute it. These imperatives will hopefully stimulate us to have more collective conversations and get much further in audience measurement.
Ed Shedd, Managing Partner, North West Europe TMT Practice at Deloitte UK