Commercial network sales bosses give mixed views on measuring streaming rivals with TV

Peter Wiltshire


The sales bosses of Networks Seven, Nine and Ten are at odds over whether online video streaming services should be included in an updated TV ratings measurement.

Earlier this week a number of media buyers made calls for an improved OzTam ratings system to take into account catchup video and look at the eyeballs being captured by streaming services such as Stan, Netflix and Presto.

While Nine Entertainment Co, which owns half of SVOD service Stan, group sales director Peter Wiltshire dismissed the idea of allowing streaming into the official OzTam Ratings telling Mumbrella: “I’m not interested in SVOD at all, in terms measurement. I just don’t think it is relevant.

“We don’t need to measure SVOD services because there is no advertising model attached to it. When Australia realises its full potential for SVOD in three or four years time.

“It may become a niggle in the side but at this point in time it is invisible to us.”

On Monday iiNet revealed Netflix’s Australian operation was already accounting for 25 per cent of its traffic after just a month in the market.

OzTam is preparing to bring online catch up viewing for TV networks into its figures in the second half of the year amid an industry debate about the factors behind a fall in metropolitan television audiences six per cent this ratings year between 6pm and midnight.

While TV networks acknowledged the fall in audiences on the linear channels they argued the viewers are moving to catch up and time shifted viewing, rater than other media.



“There is no question that the viewer behaviour is changing,” Seven’s chief revenue officer Kurt Burnette told Mumbrella.

“But while the numbers may be dropping the power to reach vast or mass (of TV) is still undeniable.

“We all now have our digital assets – television is now digital – and we see where the audience flows onto and while is certainly a (digital) upside there the numbers are the numbers.”

Nine’s Wiltshire acknowledged the concerns saying: “Any change in audience behaviour that is going south is obviously of concern to us, but at the same time we have to accept that technology – not competition – is the main varying factor for what is going on.

“This is not necessarily leaving free-to-air and watching other content, this is just the way that they are watching it,” he said, citing the experience of House of Hancock which had 1.35m viewers on the OzTam overnight rankings but rose to more than 2.1m viewers over the course of the week with catch-up viewing.



Media agency spend on television is down 1.3 per cent in the first quarter of this year compared with the same time last year according to Standard Media Index numbers, reporting it fell from 48 per cent of the market to 46.7, however the last month’s numbers showed the total revenue booked by agencies relatively stable up 0.4 per cent year on year to $310m in March.

“Some other media’s share of total advertising expenditure has increased in recent years,” said Lou Barrett, chief sales officer of Ten. “The vast majority of marketers know TV advertising works better than any other form of advertising but that is not to suggest that we are being complacent.”

Television industry OzTam earlier this year issued requests for information ahead of a possible tender to overhaul the metric, whilst also working to include the numbers for the free-to-air catch up services Plus7, 9Jumpin, TenPlay, ABC iView and SBS OnDemand.



Doug Peiffer, CEO of OzTam, told Mumbrella it is “not sure on the timing as we are still in the data collection phase now”.

However, Peiffer played a straight bat on whether it would look to measure the new streming services in its metric, which is funded by the free-to-air networks, saying: “At this point in time we haven’t been asked to measure it and so at this point its not on our radar until the channels ask for it.”

While Wiltshire is opposed to measuring SVOD his free-to-air rivals said they were open to it.

“We need strong panel data, which measures reach and frequency of audiences across all viewings method and devices,” said Ten’s Barrett, in an email response to questions.

“We need a common currency to which buyers are accustomed, and one that can translate across both linear and non-linear viewing.”

Seven’s Kurt Burnette was said he would consider the metric if it was something advertisers really wanted. Seven owns half of streaming service Presto.

“That’s a question that we need to hear about,” said Seven’s Burnette. “What is the importance of this to advertisers and clients?

“Netflix is a great example where they do not tell you what is happening inside their eco system and as far as what Presto and Stan go perhaps that is something we need to consider.

“At the end of the day we want our advertisers to be able to get as much information as we can especially if they want to buy against that audience. Maybe it’s something to consider I wouldn’t rule it out of the question.”

Nic Christensen 


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