Subscription television sales boss: TV industry needs to start talking with one voice on ratings

The CEO of subscription TV’s biggest sales house has called for the whole television industry to agree on a single way of discussing audience metrics.

Speaking on today’s Mumbrellacast, Multi Channel Network CEO Anthony Fitzgerald said that although networks would always use specific metrics to market their best features and demographics, the industry also needed an overarching measure that everybody would work from. He said:  

“Every network must look at their greatest strengths and where they are performing well and where they are targeting their performance and sell that aggressively, no question.

“What I’m calling for is a standard industry measure that everybody reports on, all journalists report on, that priovides a broad industry measure, to measure performance over the longer term. All the other sales spin below that should absolutely occur based on individual programs and individual channels and overall performance against different demographics.

“But the fact is, over 90% of all revenue is generated within the 16-54 age group and the demographic subsets of that. Nobody in the industry buys All People.

“There should be a simple measure.”

Most of the trade press bases its daily coverage of TV ratings on data from the three free to air networks, all of it based on OzTam’s overnight results.

Ten usually sends out its data first with a top 50 breakdown of individual shows in the five metro markets broken down by All People, 18-49, 16-39, 25-54 and secondary digital channels.

Seven’s release offers a ranking of the top 15 shows based on the All People demographic and a tally of audience share based on the nightly share.

Nine’s daily release offers a top ten shows ranking in the 25-54 demo for each of the five metro markets. It also offers information on channel share based on a variety of demographics.

While the free to air networks tend to concentrate on share during the evening primetime, the subscription TV players generally prefer a measure that goes from 6am to midnight.

In the main, the press reports on the All People numbers because this best reflects the viewing habits of Australians, rather than only those who are attractive to advertisers.

Fitzgerald’s comments come days after a stoush between Freeview and MCN over what the rise of audience numbers for the secondary digital channels means.

Free TV has been invited to comment.


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