Numeris, the audience measurement company that provides the viewing figures that Canada uses to trade TV advertising, is currently working on the design phase of the shared set-top box audience measurement system that, if adopted, will be a first-of-its-kind in the world. The company is reviewing options that include building the system to a national, metro or local design. The choice will be determined partly by BDU (Pay TV operator) return path capabilities and geography. Once the design is complete, the CRTC working group charged with bringing the STB audience measurement system to market will assess its economic viability using a business plan.
Two years ago, the Canadian broadcast regulator – the CRTC – called for a shared STB measurement system in the belief that it will encourage advanced advertising innovation. The original intention was that the STB viewing data would be an industry resource, thus giving broadcasters a better view of how their content performs. Naturally, the Pay TV operators in the country would expect to be rewarded for this. Numeris was given the role of leading the technical side of the project and confirmed recently that getting access to STB measurement data remains a priority.
Combining set-top box data from multiple Pay TV operators is an ambitious undertaking, both in terms of the data gathering process and the ecosystem cooperation required. This is a unique project because the push has effectively come from government.
In the U.S., market forces have started to move the industry towards a centralized data repository. A company called 605 is already gathering STB data from multiple Pay TV operators and is creating what amounts to a national analytics platform. STB viewing data can be harnessed by media companies (like networks who want to better understand their audience patterns) and advertisers (including those that want to segment or target audiences) – all subject to the necessary privacy and security protections. You can read more about 605 here.