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Return path audience measurement system goes live at DStv

DStv-i, which uses return path data (RPD), meaning that decoders are used to capture viewing habits instead of the previously used people meters, was formally introduced to the industry, yesterday, Monday, 19 July 2010, following completion of its test phase.
Return path audience measurement system goes live at DStvThis follows three years of research and development by Oracle Airtime Sales (OATS), M-Net, SuperSport and MultiChoice of what is reportedly South Africa's first return path audience measurement system to address the global issues of fragmentation in the media, the imminent introduction of more PAY-TV players, inadequate sample sizes and out-of-home viewing.

Accurate tracking

Every click of the remote control is recorded, and the data recovered from the DStv digital set-top boxes provides accurate tracking of the channels that audiences are watching and the services they use. The initial phase had 2 000 Single and XtraView reporting households. It is intended to increase this figure further with additional PVR households later this year and HD measurement in 2011.

DStv-i has been based on the BSkyB 'Skyview' panel, the Sky New Zealand AMS panel and the DirectTV panel in the States, all operated by TNS. The data will complement SAARF TAMS data and help develop an understanding of DStv viewing patterns by more defined target markets.

Individual channel ratings

Peter McKenzie, MD OATS, says, "For the first time DStv will have ratings that are robust enough at an individual channel level to allow us to explore new sales policies and models and move us towards some form of guaranteed audience delivery. This promises to revolutionise the whole business of buying commercial airtime and introduce a host of efficiencies into the process.

In addition, DStv-i will be a major benefit to MultiChoice in terms of acquiring and managing channels and for channel providers and programme producers. For the first time, all stakeholders will have one common currency to measure performance."

World Cup opening day

MultiChoice has been able to monitor and track all viewership activity during the 2010 FIFA World Cup via DStv-i.

The opening ceremony on 11 June, broadcast on SuperSport3 from 2-3pm, attracted 536 000 digital viewers aged 4+. A peak TVR (Television Viewer Rating) of 6.8 was recorded, as well as an average rating of 6.2 TVRs against total DStv viewers.

On the same day, the first match of the tournament, South Africa versus Mexico, achieved 1 256 000 DStv viewers aged 4+ on SuperSport3. This equates to a share 47.3% of total DStv viewers aged 4+ between 4-6pm who were available at that time. As this excluded out of home, SSHD and guests, it was a remarkable performance.

The game achieved a peak TVR of 17.7, a peak audience of 1 432 000 DStv viewers and an average rating of 15.5 TVRs against all DStv viewers during broadcast. This rating is 22% higher than TVRs achieved for the Super 14 Final (SuperSport1), and 78% higher than ratings achieved during the Nedbank Cup Final (SuperSport4).

Unlike the traditional soccer audience on SuperSport, viewers of the opening game had a higher-than-average number of female viewers. The opening game profiled 36 % below the age of 24, 39% between 25 and 49, and 25% aged 50+. Audiences tuned out of their regular Friday programmes into SuperSport live broadcasts and all DStv channel genres reflected shifts in audience share ranging from between 5% to 40%.

World Cup final

Viewership of the Final - Spain vs Netherlands - topped audiences, attracting 1 768 000 DStv viewers, followed closely by the SA vs Uruguay game on 16 June with 1 702 000 viewers on SuperSport3. The final game achieved an average rating of 21.3 TVRs and a peak rating of 22.9 against all individuals.

The closing ceremony attracted a DStv audience of 681 000 on SuperSport3, 145 000 more viewers than the opening ceremony. The peak rating achieved for the Closing Ceremony was 9.2 TVRs, just over the average rating of 8.8 TVRs achieved across all 4-6pm matches on SuperSport.

Other stats

Six key games attracted a SuperSport3 audience of viewers of over 1 300 000 viewers - the final (1 768 000); SA vs Uruguay (1 702 000); the semi final: Uruguay vs Netherlands (1 413 000), Semi Final: Germany vs Spain (1 363 000 viewers), Paraguay vs Spain (1 309 000), and England vs United States (1 303 000).

The popular teams drove the World Cup viewership. On average, 61% of audiences were male and 50% were aged 35+. OATS' Brenda Wortley explains that match broadcast time can impact significantly on a younger audience, as can be seen by the 10% increase in 4-15 year olds watching the SA vs France game (4-6pm) versus the SA vs Uruguay game broadcast from 8.30pm.

"Audiences exhibited a consistent daily trend with viewership steadily growing from the 1.30-3.30pm game onwards. The 8.30-10.30pm games generally drew the largest audiences. SuperSport4 broadcast its first games of the Soccer World Cup on 22 June and achieved a 16% share of DStv viewers. The combined share of SuperSport3 and SuperSport4 on 22 June was 61%," adds Wortley.

SuperSport3 continued to be the channel of choice for DStv subscribers viewing World Cup games, with an average to date of 73% of the DStv audience watching matches on SuperSport3. This audience data excluded guests in home and all out of home viewing such as fan park audiences.

Future of DStv-i

DStv-i will assist MultiChoice with channel and content decisions as well as channel management. It is ideal for media planners who wish to understand more about the audiences in a multi digital platform. The historical challenge with DStv planning has been the small DStv sample base on the TAMS panel where 5.275 million adults (+16 years) are represented by approximately 400 homes. The reality is that for the majority of channels there is only a sample base of three or less individuals (1 household) to use for planning.

The DStv-i universes are derived from the subscriber base and updated monthly to ensure robust, accurate DStv viewing data. It has been incorporated into the Telmar Transmit, Arianna and TechEdge applications. The data can be accessed as a separate database on these applications by using a panel selection tab to alternate between TAMS and DStv-i environments for analysis and media planning purposes. The planning process follows the same sequence of inputs as the TAMS process on Telmar Transmit and Arianna. Improved representative sample sizes will deliver DStv performance indicators and measurements that are more accurate i.e TVRs, reach, frequency, CPTs etc. for planners.
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