‘TV’s not dead’: OzTam Doug Peiffer on the future of linear and the arrival of VOZ

OzTam’s long-awaited total television measurement system, VOZ, has finally undergone its public launch, after delays stuttered the roll-out process.

Australia’s official source of television audience measurement is now releasing  consolidated seven-day numbers for Total TV audience, on its Virtual Oz website, which take into account linear and broadcast video on demand (BVOD) numbers, crucially capturing those viewers who consume across the weeks that follow a show’s live premiere.

The reports are now available on the Virtual Oz website, where OzTam has also been releasing Total TV reach reports and BVOD-specific reports.

OzTam CEO Doug Peiffer said that while having BVOD numbers is an important aspect of it, that a true national picture is just as significant.

“VOZ gives a true national picture of television. As consumers have been moving around their different devices to watch TV, it’s one dimensional to look at [just] the linear side of things these days,” he told Mumbrella on this week’s Mumbrellacast.

The current linear ratings system is a bit like “looking at ratings with one eye,” Peiffer said. “When you look at the total picture you know there is an audience there for it, and it gives you that true reflection of how a piece of content is performing.”

The introduction of VOZ also gives advertisers a better understanding of the impact of their campaigns than ever previously before, Peiffer explained.

“It gives you the performance of an advertising campaign… the devices that are there. So you can take your TV spots and put them together with your BVOD impressions and get this holistic TV reach and frequency picture.”

As mentioned, the data that is currently available on the VOZ website looks back at previous weeks, but Peiffer confirmed that OzTam is already releasing daily data to broadcasters who will soon be able to start making those numbers public.

“We’ve got daily data back from 4 July, which we started releasing to the broadcasters and the agencies. When they get their software they can start building their own in-house reports, but it’ll take some time for people to get familiar with the data.”

OzTam isn’t yet ready to release that daily data either, but Peiffer didn’t rule it out in the future, and said they are currently working with broadcasters on program names and content IDs. “We’re going to have a second release of the data in a few months’ time that has some deeper demographics in it.”

A lot of the narrative leading up to the launch of VOZ has been around the multiple delays that OzTam has experienced. We first heard about VOZ in 2018, when the product’s launch was slated for early 2019.

Peiffer offered a few factors that played into the delays, including the sheer complexity of the project which included combining the method of data collection from linear television panels in 8,000 households with 14-15 million devices consuming BVOD.

Updating TV panels during COVID lockdowns made things harder, and then Nielsen got hit with a cyber attack in 2020 as well which “took our servers out of action for about eight weeks,” Peiffer said. “It was just one challenge after another thrown at us.”

Peiffer also denied there were any plans to get rid of the current metro linear overnight ratings system, which he said still gives people an important snapshot of program performance.

“We have currency numbers for metro, regions, subscription and BVOD, that are respected and we’re trying to match up to. I think overnight ratings are still going to be valuable.

“How else do report on a grand final of a sporting event… you don’t wait for seven days to announce it. You know 95% of viewing is going to occur live.”

He also had a clear message for marketers who might be looking for what to take out of the early VOZ numbers. “Get your hands on the data. Dig into it and understand how people are consuming across devices.

“Look for those pockets of viewers that are consuming maybe BVOD only, maybe linear only, and how [look at how] that combines to get a bigger reach. Then keep looking at it because people will move around.

“Segmenting viewers by how they’re consuming across devices is probably going to give you the biggest insights to start with.”

Stay tuned to Mumbrella this afternoon for Zanda Wilson’s full chat with Doug Peiffer on the Mumbrellacast.


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