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With greater access to and desire for on-demand content, audiences have become fragmented across many different platforms. Do ratings truly capture the popularity of a song or a show? How do we measure success in an age where ratings don’t capture overall views of content? And while certain shows may deliver the numbers, they don’t always deliver the “buzz.” This session focuses on how the definition of success has changed now that ratings don’t always equal popularity.
Audience measurement is becoming more of a challenge for the Canadian media industry. Market interest is shifting to an emphasis on niche markets and the international market share, as well as new Canadian markets, and TV broadcasting is finding new platforms and channels. The old audience measurement panels need updating with tools that measure live broadcasting, streamed live, on-demand TV, and playback. To be able to optimize supply chains and content creation, and advertising, producers need reliable data from broadcast measurement, consumer behavior analysis, and demographics. Industry research and audience survey are changing to meet these demands with new digital measurement tools, like portable people meters and Live Plus 7.
“I’ve got a visual analytics lab that works a lot with media outlets. We really do a lot of work, and try to understand the kinds of data that we are discussing, and how to make it meaningful for different kinds of expert users, frankly, as well as audiences. So we develop analytics for parallel industries, in particular the news media and the financial service industry, using things like sentiment analysis, recommendation, and taste graphs, which relate demographics to media consumption and advertising.”
“One of the most interesting insights that we have identified now is that…90% of all TV viewing is still happening on a traditional service, so let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. But we have actually identified in our research…we’ve coined the term TV My Way. It’s almost 10% of the population. They are mostly young, super highly educated, and the key thing is they want to watch online. They watch virtually all of their television online. But most interestingly too, is they actually prefer to watch on their laptops and phones.”
“Numeris is the leading audience measurement company in this country, and a global leader…We measure audio and video, TV and radio. We have what we believe is a world class measurement system, portable people meters, we call them PPM.”
“The most recent development has really been the Live Plus 7 measurement, which has become the new currency for most the broadcasters.”
“CBC’s always had a long history in investing in research.”
“Social referrals are actually a quarter of all our traffic on our website.”
“The longevity of content is actually expanding as well…So content owners, especially ones who have been in the business a long time, have a very deep reservoir of content that they own…[which] can really help for future monetization.”
Sara Diamond: Hello everybody … Welcome, welcome, welcome. It’s really exciting to be here at Discoverability, and it’s wonderful that you are continuing to network so actively. We will have lots of opportunities for that.
My name is Dr. Sara Diamond, and I am the hostess of this really fantastic panel. I am going to introduce our 3 speakers or participants really in a moment, but I wanted to talk a little bit about why this discussion is so incredibly important. If we haven’t figured that out already from this morning it is very clear that there is tremendous disruption underway in all of our industries, and we are at a time when there is an opportunity for really different kinds of economic models. We need of course to look at Canada. We need to of course look at niche markets, and we need to look at international market share. So we really are shifting from what has been a very subsidized economy, in the Canadian context, into one where that is, as I think we know, frankly changing.
At the same time we set of new tools that are very, very powerful tools. That are from really big data, so the ability to really deeply understand product, how it moves, where it moves, and how audience receives that product. How they feel about it, and what their desires and interests are. So that’s really a huge opportunity. At the same time maybe as producers, we don’t want to completely leave algorithms completely to their own devices, so to speak. So what kind of expertise do we need that can balance the really important rule of editorial decision making around conscious investment and production, and what the data tells us.
So we have a really fantastic panel here who is going to help with that conversation. I am going to introduce them very briefly, and then I am going to ask them some questions. I should mention, I think the reason that I’m here is that I actually, I am the president of the university, but in my spare time I’ve got a visual analytics lab that works a lot with media outlets. We really do a lot of work and try to understand the kinds data that we are discussing and how to make it meaningful for different kinds of expert users, rankly, as well as audiences. So we develop analytics for parallel industries, in particular the news media and the financial service industry, using things like sentiment analysis, recommendation, and taste graphs, which relate demographics to media consumption and advertising. We are going to talk about some of those tools over the course of the panel.
We are going to also not assume, and this is a reminder to the participants here, that everybody has a deep understanding of analytics, and what we are talking about. So I would like to do a quick survey of my audience, then I will introduce my colleagues. So how many of you are producers? … How many of you are distributors, broadcasters, journalist? … Advertising industry? Okay so now we have a sense of who we are speaking to.
Neil McEneaney is President and CEO of Numeris, he brings 25 years of media experience. Prior to his appointment Neil was Chief Business Officer of CBC’s English Services, and prior to the CBC, Neil held various roles at Southam, now Postmedia. Neil has focused on strengthening Numeris’ ability to provide evident broadcast measurement consumer behavior data, and intelligence in a constantly changing environment.
Mark Allen is the Senior Director of Research and Analysis at CBC Radio Canada, he leads audience survey and industry research. He has a passion for media technology and its impact for consumers and the future of media measurement. Mark is also an active Numeris member serving on multiple committees guiding television, radio, non-linear and cross media measurements in Canada. Before CBC he was consultant for EWC’s entertainment and media practice. He is also an academic, and teaches at Carleton.
Felix Cisneros is a New York based media and technology operations executive who focuses on optimizing the digital supply chain for global media companies. Felix has worked with motion picture studios, television networks, and digital media companies to implement technology and work flow strategies across nearly every business segment. Most recently he is VP Digital Supply Chain Operations for AMC Networks, which owns the cable brands AMC, ISC, Sundance TV, and WeTV. He oversees operations across the entire content life-cycle from production to delivery to distribution to all platforms. What a team.
So I’d like to start Neil with a question for you. Can you talk about the kind of data sources that you measure, and a little bit about their characteristics, and give us a sense of how the Canadian market is moving towards measurement capability.
Neil McEneaney: Sure I’d be happy to do that. So just so everyone knows, Numeris is the leading audience measurement company in this country, and a global leader. A little bit about ourselves, as that will help to frame the answer to the question. We are a non-profit with our members owned by broadcasters, advertisers, and agencies, so we focus on measuring content in that particular Eco-system. On a daily basis Numeris supplies data that supports over $3 billion in annual revenues, advertising revenues. So, what do we measure?
We measure audio and video, TV and radio. We have what we believe is a world class measurement system, portable people meters, we call them PPM. Why that is world-class is because it is a passive medium that measures live, streamed live, on demand, playback both currency and 7-28 days. We are also doing over the top recently on all devices in and outside of the home. So when you are thinking about the video universe, if I can use that nomenclature, Numeris captures over 90% of global video consumed on a monthly basis measured by hours, and on the audio spectrum as well using PPM as well as both the audio and the video producing a diary methodology as well. So we capture a significant amount of audience data, the vast majority, and I would say equivalent on the low tail.
Sara Diamond: So how does that intersect with advertising consumption by those audiences?
Neil McEneaney: So Numeris measures the consumption of content, which then becomes the currency for the purposes of determining advertising rates and revenue generation. Different than the States for measuring average consumer audience versus in the States for doing commercial rates, so there is a huge distinction, just to get that out there. The only similarity between Canada and US in terms of audience measurement is the hardware. Everything else is different.
Sara Diamond: So I am going to jump to Felix on this, and Mark I will come back to you, shortly. But Felix, so you can give us that international perspective from the US, what are you measuring, and what do you learn in terms of us with a relationship between content consumed and advertising placement of dollars.
Felix Cisneros: Sure, the most recent development is really been the Live Plus 7 measurement, which has become the new currency for most the broadcasters, where you’re measuring content that is consumed live plus the next 7 days, whether that is viewed on video on demand or via a consumer’s DVR. Now we want to slice and dice it even more to see how much was consumed on the video on demand service versus the consumer’s DVR. We have recently telecast VOD, which is offered by Nielsen, which now measures that.
Post Live Plus 7, we are now looking at things like cross-platform VOD, s-vlog, VOD TV services, TV everywhere, which is authenticated with you cable subscription. So really trying to look at all the various areas and all the different windows that people watch in. What we have seen with some of the most recent metrics is, depending on how people viewed that content within the first 7 days, for instance a new series that people don’t know about yet, they haven’t thought to DVR it. So many of them don’t hear about, they will hear a buzz from their friends via social media, and so you will see a much higher uptick on VOD over the first 7 days versus a series that is already well-known, is returning and is already loved, and most of that viewing is on the DVR.
So from an advertising perspective that allows then your ad sales to potentially look at well should we start doing dynamic ad insertion on VOD services versus DVR because you might have the ability to monetize that in a different way for a returning series versus a new series. So really using that data to determine the programming and ad sales strategy is more to maximize the routing potential.
Sara Diamond: So that past relationship, but you would also be able to over time look at changes in audience consumer patterns between different kinds of distribution.
Felix Cisneros: Most certainly, and so now, and it was mentioned earlier, that the broadcasters are very much born of a direct consumer model. We know a lot more about our actual end viewers than in the past where our customers were really the cable services, and we are more B to B service because there is much more B to C. We know the metrics through actual people visits to our website and we can start tailoring content and advertising and understanding more about that viewer from a direct consumer perspective.
Sara Diamond: We’re going to come back to the B to C transformation, but first Mark I was really interested to find out how much CBC is really paying attention to these kinds of metrics so within the public broadcast context. Some of that would be your commercial competitors or colleagues looking for ad placement, but it would also give you great tools to understand Canadian audiences, so tell us a little bit what you are doing.
Mark Allen: CBC’s always had a long history in investing in research we are actually proud members of Numeris. I got to reiterate what Neil said, we take for granted how excellent a measurement system we actually have in Canada, with PPM. We really are positioned to take measurement to the next level. But more than just the technology. It’s the company, it’s a cooperative. We don’t have 2 companies like they have in the States like Nielsen and Rentrack, who are fighting over whose currency you are going to buy and trade from. The industry has come together to actually produce the data that is trusted and transparent, so we need to build on it.
Our challenge in the digital age, Felix is actually adding that return pack data, adding that granularity, how do we move, how do we get set top box data, how do we get server data into the measurement system. It’s a real challenge because we are all companies, and we have our own interests and we tend to want to keep the data to ourselves, but we need to recognize that we will all be better off if we’re all part of the measuring system and we are all contributing return pack data, set top boxes, server data to improve the measurement system for the future.
Sara Diamond: So can you talk about, each of you a little bit, about where social fits. When you started measurement, this is a company that has a very long legacy, and there was no social data, so in a world where there is both product, that is obviously being distributed consumed as audiences are doing, but social has a phenomenal impact on as we’ve heard, uptake, the quality of audience engagement, so where does social fit it in this when you think about emerging initiatives. Do you want to start?
Neil McEneaney: Sure I’ll start. So digital measurement is clearly our top priority. Numeris has just launched a new strategy that with a significant focus on digital measurement. When you look at digital measurement just going off what Mark and Felix just described, let’s put it in 3 categories, and you have to speak about the integration of data sets, you can have a much greater understanding of your audiences and purposes of your programing and commercialization. So you just simply want to understand your audiences better.
So you put them into 3 particular groups the first one is online integration, that’s a huge priority for Numeris, we are just kicking that off, and we will probably do that with a digital partner to deal with the complexities associated with that, which is happening all around the world.
Second priority is going to be set top box and return pack data that Mark just described, so we are happy to be working with the CRTC. Numeris has been engaged to do a technical test to see if it is technically feasible to integrate, we are doing it with 3 mediums, to see can it technically be done. If it can technically be done our report is going to be going back to the CRTC, and from there the CRTC will decide if they want to proceed with a test in hopefully a trial market to see what its value is. So that is going to be forthcoming, hopefully in the Toronto market, and we are very excited about that.
Now the third one is integration of social into your home watching. So Numeris looked at it, to my knowledge, I have only been there a short while. So they have looked at it in detail. The reality of social is, when Numeris is largely prioritizing its efforts based on the needs of the industry, that’s what I get out of that everyday is how do we improve the industry.
When it comes to social various numbers in this industry have developed social tools to meet particular businesses. They have social strategies that differ from each other because of their strengths based on their kind of asset mixes, and the type of audiences and loyalties they have. They then also have very specific means to measure that. So they then have unique social strategies, they also have unique measurement of that. When Numeris looked at it to say okay should we take that on, and develop an industry solution which is a consistent, high-standard, uniform solution to measure the social, and the answer was no. It wasn’t a high enough priority because it was so fragmented at that point in time, and therefore that’s where we are right now. We are pursuing an industry solution for social for those reasons, we are going to focus on online and we are going to focus on return path data.
Sara Diamond: Okay, so Mark maybe pick this up though because what do we then do about social? How should people manage those important sets of data in relationship to Numeris can provide. You are actually speaking as a broadcaster.
Mark Allen: Sure, social referrals are actually a quarter of all our traffic on our website, so making all of your content socially share-able is a critical strategy for us in terms of measurement that’s really a [doli-o-mature 00:17:13], and where we are at this time, and as Neil was saying that Numeris is not going to be measuring that space, and I think that is the right decision.
Sara Diamond: But let’s speak to the folks in the room, so how then should they think about their own strategies in terms of using social data in relationship to the kind of data that Numeris is providing?
Mark Allen: That’s a very hard question (laughs).
Sara Diamond: Because we are looking trend analytics, and I think people are trying to understand, well if you are a producer are you dependent on the broadcaster, distributor. There are tools that producers use to look at social and how their product is moving. So I think since we are trying to figure out strategy a little bit the next stage, it is a hard question.
Mark Allen: Christopher Berry is on a conference CBC, he’s on a panel tomorrow, he’s our digital product optimization expert, so he’s actually a good person to answer, but I think Felix actually being in operations would know a lot.
Sara Diamond: We’ll toss it to you.
Felix Cisneros: To the extent that social can drive the parts of the business that can be monetized, that’s what my clients are looking for. Which is how do we drive to them, how do we drive views on our website that are going to monetize via survey advertising to that audience. How to move data, whether it’s through Twitter or Facebook. People think when a website offers you, log into this website via your Facebook credentials that that’s a convenience, you are actually handing over a whole bunch of data.
So that data is useful because we have demographic date, we know single or married, we know their geographic region. For cable companies we know who their pay TV subscription is with, which is extremely important in order to help with saying, view this on Comcast, or view this on Rogers, or Telus, or whatever. To the extent that social can drive, and we use that data to be able to say that, we think with the launch of this new show or we think we do a catch-up marathon on this service for these viewers, we know this satellite service is very popular amongst this type of audience. We know who that audience is based on their logins to our website and we can very much tailor to them, and monetization based on that. So that’s really where the currency of social really hits the road, is in that regard.
Sara Diamond: That’s very helpful, just share some high-level content on about what you are learning about competing audiences and some of the ways that they are changing.
Neil McEneaney: In my short time there what I found interesting coming from a broadcaster perspective to a measuring company, that is information that is available daily that we should pay attention to. A simple example is simply the changing demographics of this country. In my early days sitting back, and part of what they did in the past in various deals, and various content genres, is they sit back and make fundamental assumptions about audiences. What are the available audiences, and are you aware as to the changing make-up of those audiences by way of changes in demographics? What is the profile of the average Canadian today?
I think that is really important as you continuously, especially since this is the Discoverability Summit, as you go and discover all the instances, and how to build a relationship with audiences. This day and age, content is a very personalized experience, with personalized devices. So I would say, and this is what I’ve been promoting, and having healthy conversations with members, let’s really step back and look at the changing of demographics and how does that affect your content, and ultimately how you monetize it. But that relationship is very important, so that is what I would share with you.
Mark Allen: One of the most interesting insights that we have identified now is that, first off the premise, as Neil was saying before, 90% of all TV viewing is still happening on a traditional service, so let’s not get too ahead of ourselves. But we have actually identified in our research we’ve segmented these groups which we actually called, we’ve coined the term TV My Way.
It’s almost 10% of the population. They are mostly young, super highly educated, and the key thing is they want to watch online. They watch virtually all of their television online. But most interestingly too, is they actually prefer to watch on their laptops and phones. This is not like I don’t have access to a television set, they actually want to watch on their laptops, and they want to watch on their phones. Half of them don’t even have a television set, so that’s one.
The other, two, is just the reality today that TV has become like a good book. TV has become like a good book. A lot of these TV My Way viewers, when they think about watching television, they don’t go like our parents do, and turn on the television set and try to find a channel to watch something. To watch something, they think well I’m watching Breaking Bad, so I am going to go to the next chapter in Breaking Bad, the next series. So for a lot of people, TV is just basically becoming a good book.
Sara Diamond: Well that’s great news for content producers, isn’t it?
Mark Allen: I think it is excellent, excellent news for content producers. I think as well too, what’s happening too is that we have to think in dimensions of time. A show like Breaking Bad, people are still watching it. Like Better Call Saul, one of the best shows around now, had its final episode of the second season, only got about 300,000 viewers, but it’s a total hit because people watch it on their own pace. People who have PVRed it, and were going to watch it in maybe 2 months from now, so we have to factor in the longevity of content is actually expanding as well.
Sara Diamond: Also very exciting, the whole notion of the long tail, which is almost from the previous century, we’re actually now beginning to see that come to reality. So how do you then use data to look at those kinds of trends like that because something can not be popular, then trend, and then go away, and come back again?
Felix Cisneros: It goes back to data. So content owners, especially ones who have been in the business a long time, have a very deep reservoir of content that they own, that they have produced, that in some instances they haven’t produced, which I can get back to, and being able to understand, deeply understand, their content, and what it has and how compares to content that is out there, can really help for future monetization. So understanding your own product catalog and understanding what that can offer you, and being able to offer that on new platforms as these new platforms come about, and how to able to able to monetize something that potentially you couldn’t.
In the states we have shows like the Tonight Show, a show that ran 50 years, and it is really consumed in 3 or 4 minute segments, or Saturday Night Live, which is a comedy sketch show. You can’t monetize a single episode of that necessarily, that’s 8 years old, but you can monetize the fact that Prince performed on this episode in this year and this episode in this year and this episode in this year. Having that deep understanding from meta data perspective, well what is in your catalog can really lead to monetization as these platforms exist. Having that meta data available to you, ideally from a point of production that can flow all the way through to the distribution side is really the genesis of that.
Sara Diamond: But about how to really understand how producers can take advantage of the big data era. So you are talking about that a little bit, can you maybe drum down a little bit by what you mean by meta data, for the producers in the audience, what should they be tagging, what descriptions should they be using?
Felix Cisneros: So getting at it from the production side, there is usually a dividing line between production and distribution, so you have a lot of technical tools that are available on the production side that people use, but much of that data does not flow through to the end. I feel like that is a big gap because that meta data can be used down the road for specifically the purposes I was talking about. That’s a really good example of that. But understanding at a segment level, and really going down to the strata of what you understand about, down to the shop level, depending on what business you are in. If you are in news or sports, things like that, down to the shop level really matters.
I had a project for a television company that specifically focuses on golf. So we would focus on what hole, what golf course, was it a great shot, was it a hole-in-one, all of those kinds of things. So you literally had scene by scene, shot by shot, 9 levels of meta data, so that you could then, from an archive perspective, you want to pull up the greatest shots at Augusta golf course, you could then pull those segments up, and obviously integrate it with your media asset management system, so that you could quickly do that. That was triggered from the untimely death of a golfer, and they wanted to get all the footage of that golfer that they had. So they had all the archives, and they had no way to pull all that back without having 30 interns over a weekend have to look at all of this footage in order to do that.
Sara Diamond: Neil, do you want to jump in here and talk a little bit about how you mentioned earlier that you saw a big shift from the B to B to the B to C world. So what does that mean again for the different audience members here in the room? How should they be thinking about who they are in fact using data to speak to?
Neil McEneaney: So I think there is a huge difference between what content producers and broadcasters need in terms of tagging their data, as Felix described, for their particular purposes of episodic review, flow, and what cutting it up, distributing differently to attract new audiences and to have different kinds of experiences. That definitely is a content producer or broadcaster set of criteria that they got to feel comfortable that they can get the maximum value out of that.
I think from an industry perspective, one of our top priorities is to developing a hybrid measurement system that allows us to take traditional panel based audiences with census based audiences and actually be able to understand audiences holistically. So what do I mean by that? If you are sitting there, and fortunately Numeris working with their members most of the content is encoded so we capture it, so that’s the good news. So why would I be so focused on video, and pushing the expansion of audience especially to the video when we have 90%, over 90%. I think that is going to change. It has changed in the last year. It has gone down a couple points. So, where does that take us?
If it comes from a position that we absolutely need to understand every piece of content produced, who the audiences are, and how they are consuming it. That would be the goal. So to get there we are going to have to hope to find a hybrid system where we can actually walk between the two. How do you take impressions, or how do you take views, and how do you compare that to AMAs. Does 40 billion something equal to 5 million AMAs. What’s good? What’s success? What’s resonating with the audiences in terms of comparing those audiences, and what is actually considered from the sales perspective premium or unique audience demographic to some begets. We don’t have systems in this country that do that right now, and so that’s what we are building, to have a better understanding of audiences holistically. So that’s what we are doing to focus. The production side, and the respective tools within the content producers and broadcasters, is something that I don’t encourage them to spend time on because I think that just informs the content decisions.
Sara Diamond: Right, I know looking at what producers need some of what they want to see are opportunities and barriers relating to a projects cast. For example, how those performers trend, where they are situated, who they speak to in terms of Canadian and international audiences, even a title, which audiences, which market segments will it appeal to? We are finding genres, and actually identifying and finding audiences, that kind of demographic segmentation, and then the need to personalize within that context. So, I think given that we are looking at discoverability not only in Canada, but internationally, there is a need for tools for producers as well as the distribution side and the advertising side. Mark any comments from you, I know you are also looking at what the next generation of tools needs to be.
Mark Allen: I think it’s interesting when you talk about the sort of producers and the kind of research that they need. I think there is a view now that we can use data to create the best show that everybody’s going to want to watch, and I actually believe that’s a bit of a false goal. I think great content is made by great minds, great creative people. Where there is a lot of developments is actually in getting great content found. With recommendation engines, with advertising targeting, where the excitement is in the long-tail, is getting that show that you never even heard of, and getting it in front of you, and realizing oh my god, like this is fantastic. I am going to binge 2 seasons in a weekend.
Sara Diamond: That’s great, so Felix to you on the B to B transition, we are going to pick that up again, a little bit also from the producer’s perspective, what they might need.
Felix Cisneros: So having that direct connection with your actual audience is still something, at least on the television, fairly new from a historical perspective. You used to serve it out to a big audience, and you really didn’t have a direct connection between a very specific viewer, and now we have that opportunity to have that direct connection.
That really starts from the very beginning. The shows start developing a relationship with their audience at the point that they essentially announce their production. So developing that relationship as you are creating the show, behind the scenes footage, having your cast members interact with the audience via social media. All those things are tools that you simply didn’t have a generation ago with regards to the production. Basically the production was done in secret, you beamed it out, and hopefully you got an audience.
But now you can actually build that audience from the very beginning, and so by the time your show actually premieres. Even the idea of a premier is being turned on its head because we now have shows that pre-premier, that may air on online platform before they air on linear broadcasts. That are doing day and day international air. So you used to have where a show would air domestically in its home country first, and then roll out onto the rest of the world. Now you have global premiere’s where everything airing at the same time. So the ability to form that relationship with the consumer from the very beginning is key to building an audience and driving that. So that is just a tool that we didn’t have previously.
Sara Diamond: Thank you. Mark what do people need to do to effectively integrate this into work flow? I’m going to actually ask each of you this. You work at a major broadcaster, how is it changing the way that work happens?
Mark Allen: Well it’s mind-blowing the amount of data that you can collect, and like Felix was saying you have to do it in a very meticulous way. You have to understand how the data is going to be used, but I think the big point is that we can all be collecting our own internal server data, we can get it hopefully at the postal code level so we can combine it with other data sets, and learn you know how to advertise to people who like yoga, or it’s just very micro niche targets. But the key thing is we also need to remember, we are an industry and the best way for all of us to have a good view of the total consumer, the total audience, on a granular level is to have a trusted organization that we all work with, and are providing data to as well.
Sara Diamond: Felix, work flow, how is it shifting and what are some of the places where it is not working so well?
Felix Cisneros: Sure well I think part of is, you have to start at the very beginning. You can’t do all this great number crunching and data analytics unless your data operational work flows are settled at the beginning. So starting with meta data and taxonomy, so you are starting to actually see, at least in the States, actual executive positions being created to talk about meta data and taxonomy. So I have seen recently Vice President of Taxonomy, Vice President of Enterprise Meta Data.
We actually set up in my last company, we created a Director of Meta Data Taxonomy because unless you have that structure from the very beginning, you are going to have lots of different silos of data and the unique content identifiers that you need in order to get that data back, to be able to tie it all together. Unless you kind have kind of a master data plan that can tie those pieces of content together, you’re going to end up spending a lot of time trying to reconcile all that information, and you won’t be able to do it in a timely way to be able to do anything actionable on it.
So having your meta data and taxonomies in place from the very beginning, and when you are designing your work flows for distribution keeping all these things in mind because what I started to see is as each new measurement key comes about, it might then mean you have a new workflow that you have to implement, a new watermark you have to put on, a new tag you have to put on, which can then, as everybody is trying to make their work flows more efficient, actually reverse the trend, and now you have a separate version for linear a separate version for on-demand, a separate version for tv everywhere, which is the exact opposite direction you want to go from an operational cost perspective. So really those are the 2 things in particular that I would recommend that folks focus on.
Sara Diamond: Thank you. Neil, is the technology reliable? Do we have any challenges as we are moving more and more to really looking to those data to help direct our decisions?
Neil McEneaney: Well Felix is bang on you need to ensure that the data is clean, so we can do something with it. Dealing with the complications, and it’s not easy. Everyone is dealing with the inconsistency, if you wish, and the operational challenges associated with that as the industry finds new means to distribute content. We’ve got to get that right, and they are working hard on it, I am fully confident that will solve itself.
From there we need to enhance the system in this country, which is back to the total measurement of audiences by way of the digital measurement system. From, there with a revised status, we actually understand across the various audience types. Then allow the ad effectiveness tools to kick in, and do what they need to do to inform those sort of commercial decisions, allow with a basis of understanding audiences on a holistic level understand the producers to understand the trends and the interests. What fascinates audiences, what’s intriguing audiences, what does nation sharing experiences look like? So that they can effectively design content, and then do what this kind of seminar is about discovering audiences, discovering new content. I think if we don’t have a stronger measurement system in this country to launch off those other particular value-added, if you wish, of this industry is going to be difficult to achieve.
Sara Diamond: So, we do have some time left and I am sure that there are questions or comments, and I see a hand up here … A microphone sorry, and it would be great if you identified yourself too.
Abby Klum: My name is Abby Klum and I’m from MIT, I have a question regarding privacy. So with all this data that you are talking about, what are some of the privacy issues? How does it fit into the larger discussion about privacy in general not just in relation to media and how does that relate to policy?
Neil McEneaney: Privacy, of course, is a significant concern in this country and across the world, no doubt about it. I think privacy will come up more when it expands in the context of returning pack data. If you look at, I was just reviewing various practices around the world to address that and respect privacy. So I believe is something that you are looking at is part of the working group. I can’t comment on that because I am not part of the working group, but I believe in that context I could see privacy. Outside of that, in terms of the worldly standards which present day privacy is protected will continue. I truly believe if we are going to expand social measurement in this country, it’s going to be off the strengths of the measurement standards that already exist, which fully respect privacy at a respondent level. So I am not concerned about privacy in terms of going into the integration of data sets online because we will build on the strengths that currently respect privacy.
Mark Allen: It is the challenge of the new research age because we want to have granular level data at the individual level, so that you can actually better offer programs, better target advertising. But the challenge is people also want to respect their privacy.
It’s weird, you post all this stuff on all your social networks, but we are surprised when people see it. But privacy is part and parcel of the new research age. We have to find a way to anonymize the data, and respectful of privacy.
Sara Diamond: I think that last point is really important is how to look at anonymous data, that we can look at demographics and trends, and extract from that the actual individuals, and looking at those sort of analytic system. That’s part of why it’s so great to have the Longform Census back, thank you federal government, because we now have detail on Canadian citizens and people who live in this country.
Mark Allen: One more thing if I could, the key thing actually is if we could get to the postal code level. If we can get to the postal code level, you don’t realize how similar you are to your neighbors. Until you realize that we are going from an area where there’s large panels and we have demographics. But then when 3rd party data sets get combined it is combined at the postal code level, and it’s at the assumption that you are similar to your neighbor. SO from an operational perspective, when you get the postal code, you have a lot of information.
Sara Diamond: Felix, privacy in the US context.
Felix Cisneros: Well much of the data we are gathering that I was referring to is essentially voluntarily given, or you sign up for a contest, or you sign up to be notified about certain things. So people are actually entering this data in, or agreeing to provide that data via authentication, via Facebook, and things along those lines. To the extent that data is being collected it’s being done, voluntarily. No different than when I install an app on my phone, it says well when you install this app you are going to volunteer where you are, well I want it so I am going to hit okay. To that extent, and how the data is used. Obviously it is used for aggregation perspective honestly. But I can’t speak specifically to the regulatory aspects of it. But I know certainly that those are the kind of things that they are looking to maintain best practices on, and making sure they are not utilizing that information in a way that would be offensive to the end-user.
Kyle Mack: Mike, my name is Kyle Mack and my question is what security measures are in place to protect the data that has been mined.
Sara Diamond: Numeris do you want to start with that?
Neil McEneaney: You have to elaborate on your question, when you say the data that had been mined, what do you mean by that?
Kyle Mack: So the collected data that has been observed through organizations, or for example signaling demonstrated by people entering contests like you said. But what measures are put in place to protect the data, and how long necessarily will it be kept. So is there anything in place, some regulatory body. What keeps the data given, to solely the company, and not given to anyone else?
Neil McEneaney: I can speak from the Numeris perspective, which is an industry solution as opposed to an individual member situation because everybody collects data. So because we have adhered to strict methodologies and very strict audit concerns, all of that is protected at the respondent level. Everything we do in terms of integration of data sets, or entering things that summarize at a level that respects privacy and respects the terms and conditions under which it is acceptable in terms of retention of data and that privacy of data from an industry perspective that has never been a concern as far as I know. But I can only speak at the industry level, I can’t speak at the member level.
Sara Diamond: Our lab actually works with a number of really significant data sets, one frankly from Inlogic who does some of the computational work behind Numeris, and the other from a major media outlet. All of that data is stripped of any identifications, and is actually kept on completely secure servers. Some of the work that we do only happens within the actual physical space of those entities because people are so incredibly protective of that data. We treat it as though it is data for medical records, so there is a lot of security surrounding it, and a lot of respect for university research we are all subject to tri-counsel regulation in Canada, which means that there is a tremendous respect for privacy, securing data, destroying data once it has been analyzed. I think it’s really important that industry frankly follow that kind of strict guidelines as well on how it manages personal data. Then in part reflects on your question … Any other questions?
Kate Hanley: Hi, I’m Kate Hanley from Digital Theory Media Consulting, and I am just wondering from any of you including Sara, where we are with data for content creators if we’re to apply a lead start-up methodology to content creation. Where we are failing early, we are failing fast, we are making changes to our content as the data comes in to our approach. What tools do we have available, and I am wondering if Sara in your lab if you are working with this at all?
Sara Diamond: That’s such an interesting point. There’s actually a couple of content focused companies in Canada right now that are looking at the kind of factors that I was talking about. So really understanding at a granular level with internal audiences, casting, the relationship of their content and advertising, not only understanding that of the Canadian, but the international context. Whether doing is looking at aggregating different kinds of analytics tools. You know from Google analytics to some of the more advertiser focused tool sets to develop a new technology that would be specifically focused at the producer community, and would provide those analytics.
Both for larger companies who operate in the international Canadian market, and for what is described sadly as the squishy middle, those producers who do have the Ride-on subsidy and are just producing, YouTube content is great, but they aren’t only producing for the YouTube environment. But to try to really give people those tools. So stay tuned because we are in the process of actually looking at some research funding to build that environment.
I feel that producers should not just rely on broadcasters and distributors to help them navigate this incredibly complex environment. I think there is a need for sophisticated analytic tools that will help the producers in Canada. I am very anxious about what is going to happen to the amazing quality Canadian content that has happened. I think the public broadcaster has a phenomenal role in maintaining public space, and a mandate for quality Canadian content of all kinds, and the film board does as well, but they didn’t receive double their funding the last round.
Mark Allen: We’re getting double? (laugh)
Sara Diamond: But it didn’t receive a significant infusion of dollars. Stay tuned I think there is a lot of work ahead in this space. Thank you for your question, I don’t know if others want to pick that up … Okay good, then I have a question, and then we are almost done. This one and then that one.
Megan Lingley: Hi, Megan Lingley, I just have a quick question about measuring audiences obviously, the bane of any researcher, it comes down to sampling. So we have talked a lot about the Canadian system, the technology is it reliable, some of the upgrades that are being made and how we have a world class system measuring all the way down to AMA, and in fact measuring audiences as young as 2 years old through listening and viewing habits. I know that Nielsen increased there sample size in the US a couple of years ago, quite significantly, up to 30% or 40% in some of their markets. But we didn’t do the same here in Canada, so I was just wondering if you wanted to comment a little bit about sampling, and how important that is for us here in Canada, particularly since we are trying to really lead in being able to measure niche audiences and smaller groups and audiences.
Neil McEneaney: Sure, I am happy to comment on that, so as I mentioned earlier the only similarity between the 2 territories is the hardware because Nielsen has the IP for the portable people meter. So when you talk about panels let’s just go through the numbers. So Nielsen just went from a 20,000 to 40,000 household panel. We are currently sitting at 4,528. On a per capita basis, Canada has a greater representation of panels than anyone. The UK has a 5,100 member panel, but considering their population, so on a per capita basis I think the panels of Numeris is world class. If you look at the Netherlands, I like it’s around 1,258, so from a panel representation, we are on great ground.
A huge difference though in terms of how the technology is used. Nielsen continues, and they are changing this on a local level, recent announcements, but largely the meter is connected to the set. So it’s basically only measuring what is happening with that set at that point in time versus with portable people meter, we are actually measuring content anywhere they are. People will wear these meters roughly 14 hours a day, so we are picking up a great deal with their exposure to content. So I think from a panel representation, we are on great footing, and accurately reflecting the audience of this country and their consumption of content … Did that answer your question?
Mark Allen: I will just add to that, we are comfortable with the size of the panel. I think we need to recognize how difficult it actually is to the cost and the difficulty in recruiting and keeping panelists. If we want to add more granulary in the system, we need to have return path data. So we are going to have to maintain a high-quality large panel for the foreseeable future to measure the total audience. But if we want to get that granularity it’s not necessarily by increasing the panel. That can help if the industry can find the money to do it, but I think it’s actually in integrating return path data, that is where you are going to get your granularity.
Sara Diamond: Thanks. I wanted to mention a company, they are on the west coast they are called Alert TV, and they are actually building a predictive analytic system focused on the needs of producers. So predictive analytics is where you can look at trend analysis over time, and start to say we think these kinds of audiences would be interested in this kind of content. So I know we have a question over here … And this will be our last question, and then we will have a little wrap.
Gretchen: Hi my name is Gretchen and I work in the Community East sector, which is largely not served by the kind of data that we are focused on, so I’d like to completely shift the conversation briefly to qualitative data, and what that can bring us in terms of a vision for new methodologies in 2016, specifically when we want to think about the evaluation of existing regulatory policies like the Diversity of Voices Policy, or to even to even think about impact or the going to the whose whom method of analysis. So what kind of methods can we be inquired by when it comes to more qualitative or even audience research that doesn’t serve a commercial purpose, which is my research interest.
Sara Diamond: Well thanks for asking that question. One of the things that I wanted to end with actually was to talk about the importance data, methodology, and other kinds of tools we can use to reflect on qualitative data, and I believe colleagues also mentioned that there is still an incredibly important role for producers and discretionary decisions around what is actually produced. Plus on the regulatory level, part of why I am so interested in working with the producer community is to understand the long tail, other kinds of markets, niche market capacity, and other forms of distribution, which have been a strength in Canada in a less subsidized world. But we absolutely need to have cultural studies and ethnographic work that happens alongside to the more quantitative pieces and you need those skill sets to look at the quantitative data and help us understand how to reply them. So it is actually a great question to end on. Do you want to comment?
Mark Allen: I’ll just say that if you are talking about communities, you are talking about a micro-geographic with companies like Embrionix, did a fantastic product called prism that lets you really just target in on various specific postal codes, and get all kinds of data about who the people in those areas are, what they do, and how they get to work, and what they watch, and what they listen to. So in terms of community research there’s all kinds of new methodologies like that that open up new opportunities for insights.
Sara Diamond: Thank you.
Felix Cisneros: Non-commercial is not worth the user interaction in my practice (laughs). But all kidding aside, my wife runs a non-profit that actually produces content for the theater community. It is The American Theater Wing, which produces the Tony Awards, which is a commercial venture. But then as the non-profit her charge, for the American Theater Wing, is to expand audiences, expand people who go to see the theater, and expand a cultural aspect of theater going. So they utilize a lot of data that is created by state arts agencies, city cultural affairs groups, and also studies that are done through trade associations associated with the theater in order to then produce premium content served free of charge to the theater community, specifically based on these types of things. So making sure that underserved audiences are presented with content that is specific to them utilizing these data sources that are available to tailor that content for them.
Sara Diamond: Thank you and any final comments.
Neil McEneaney: I love the role of data and the kind of intelligence and awareness that we get in terms of understanding audiences, and to the extent from a non-commercial perspective that we can leverage the audience data that we have available and tailor it, and allow it to be the starting point for a greater conversation. Learn how to reach those audiences whatever community, or local, or regional, or national interests that you may have. So access to Numeris data, producers can have access to Numeris data and use it in a way that suits their needs. So I think more access to data, more granular data that Mark referred to earlier, and our collective efforts together is the way to go.
Sara Diamond: Thank you. Well thank you very much, each of you for participation on the panel. Thank you very much to the audience for being so engaged, and asking great questions. Have a great rest of Discoverability.