Explainer: What VOZ is and what it isn't

The latest total TV viewing measurement from OzTAM, Virtual Australia, is about to arrive. Here, we explain how this new marketing measurement has been created and what it promises

The latest total TV viewing measurement from OzTAM, Virtual Australia, is about to arrive. Here, CMO talks to OzTam CEO, Doug Peiffer, about how this new marketing measurement has been created and what it promises Australian advertisers.

What is VOZ

Virtual Australia, more colloquially known as VOZ, is not a platform but a database. It’s about taking the gold standard currencies measuring linear TV and broadcast video on-demand (BVOD) and creating an all-in-one total TV viewing picture.  It’s been created by OzTam in partnership with Nielsen.

What VOZ is based on

On the traditional TV side, OzTam has TV panel and OzTam data encompassing 20,000 households across Australia. This is used to project ratings. It then has video player measurement (VPM), what OzTam calls ‘census’ data, based on a tag embedded in every video player across 7, 9, 10, ABC, SBS and Foxtel, giving a complete picture at device level for the BVOD market. That’s about 14 million devices per month. It’s also tapping streaming TV meter data from 1300 TAM panel homes plus 80,000 annual survey questionnaire responses.

Why it’s been so complicated

As OzTam CEO, Doug Peiffer explains it, the challenge in creating VOZ has come from trying to put together linear TV and TV ratings together with individualistic data from 14m devices, equating to between 8-9 million people. Complicating the mix is the fact there are 1.8 TVs per household on average, and at least six devices, some of which are shared, while others are personal.

What’s more, the volume of information available video player measurement (VPM) is significant. So OzTam has worked with Milton Data to build demographic modelling on top.

“We know what types of people watch what types of programs via the people meter data, playback and so on, and we take that information plus anonymised registration data to get age/sex demographics from broadcasters, then model that on top of the VPM side. We also have location thanks to VPM and device location,” Peiffer explained.  

In addition, OzTam has taken information from TAM survey data from 50,000 households, plus Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) data, and replicated that out across all 25 million individuals representing Australia using the VOZ database, carrying through by region all age, sex and demographics information.

“Let’s say I add you on the TV ratings panel and you accounted for 3500 signals and individuals. Every time you watch TV, it gives out a female who is 35 year-old watching that on TV. Every time you change the channel, 3500 people of that demographic move with you, and if you don’t watch TV, that’s 3500 of that demographic who are not watching,” Peiffer said.

“We take all those demographics and project them onto VOZ. We also take the attributes of those people. We would know how many had cable TV, using BVOD, have Netflix, and we carry those statistics through. That makes VOZ a synthetic population of Australia, with all the characteristics of what’s important to TV.  

“So when I take your traditional viewing, I put you onto the VOZ, knowing you’re in Sydney, your age group and instead of you counting for 3500 in one lump, you count for 3500 individuals.”

What OzTam has also done on the VPM side is assign data to individuals on the VOZ panel based on matching characteristics. So if a consumer doesn’t have a tablet PC, you can’t receive tablet viewing, for example.

“When we piece it together, we can start to see how many people watched linear only, or BVOD only, or a combination and moving between devices,” Peiffer said. “It’s what we have been missing.

“VOZ is about the complete TV picture, and helps you plan at the beginning stage and post-evaluate on the combination of TV and BVOD working together to deliver your campaign reach and frequency. It’s learning on how much you apply to both sides that’s going to be important.”

Related: Industry welcomes new integrated TV viewing database

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Factoring in location and device sharing

Another reason it’s taken so long to piece VOZ together is the location and sharability of devices.

“We see a device in Sydney one day and Melbourne the next, and the user is watching BVOD content across both. That has thrown up issues for us – where do we count that viewing? We know the device normally resides in Sydney,” Peiffer said. “So these are new concepts we haven’t dealt with before contributing to how we define and piece this together.” 

A further complication is when devices are active then disappear off the grid. Commonly, another springs up, leading to the assumption people have gained a new device. Then there’s the fact devices like a tablet PC could be used by an adult view one minute, and a child the next.

“A device will be used to watch mature content then all of a sudden it’s accessing kids content, so we’re pretty sure it’s been passed to someone else. So we have to manage that in our reporting,” Peiffer commented. “You can’t just assign a device to one particular individual.”

Timeline of launch

VOZ debuts from 27 February in a phased rollout approach, initially offering insights on patterns of viewing. Peiffer said the first objective is to highlight the increasing percentage of consumers moving between linear and using second stream as a catch-up service.

“It’s what [catch-up TV] has made every device a TV, and you can access anytime you want, when you want and that’s when you get ala carte view. That trend is continuing,” he said.   “What we see with BVOD is the combo with linear TV gives you incremental reach – 10 to 15 per cent reach with the younger demos on a weekly basis you can’t just each with linear.”

Daily VOZ data will be available to subscribers from late April. Medium-term, VOZ will put together what Peiffer called “advanced targeting” using additional data sets, such as showing pieces of content people are viewing who are intending to buy a car. To do this, OzTam is working with data partners on trials, and has added in Nielsen data around insights such car and travel intention.

For Peiffer, the ambition is to be able to recommend to advertisers a suitable ratio of advertising across the different forms of TV.

“For example, we can say if it’s a young person intending to buy a car, you might want to go say 60/40 BVOD/TV, then upgrade the TV side for the older audience as they’re still watching more linear TV,” he said.

Co-viewing visibility

Another way OzTam is looking to improve measurement is via ‘streaming TV meters’, 3000 of which will be installed shortly across Australia. This is a form of router sitting in the household that lets OzTam know how much streaming a household is doing across services such as Netflix, YouTube, Stan, plus on-demand TV services, and via all connected devices.

By combining streaming data, VPM data on specific titles being watched, and demographic modelling, OzTam will be able to identify when someone watches the Masked Singer, for instance, and even if these programs have more than one person sitting in front of them.

“Our next release of VPM and data back to broadcasters will have co-viewing factors on it for TV. We’ll now know drama commonly has more than one person sitting in front of it,” Peiffer said.

“We think there is co-viewing factor of 1.5 times on average. The more specific you get with a title – CNBC news for example – the chances are you’re on your own. As entertainment comes back up, there are commonly two or more people watching. But what we see from VOZ is how many watched the program on TV one week then another device the next week and as they head towards the finale they’re back in front of the TV set in a group viewing situation. The fluidity across devices is what VOZ will pull apart.”  

Follow CMO on Twitter: @CMOAustralia, take part in the CMO conversation on LinkedIn: CMO ANZ, follow our regular updates via CMO Australia's Linkedin company page, or join us on Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/CMOAustralia.


 

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