So You Want to Understand Digital TV Audience Demand -- Do What Reed Hastings Does

A recent Wall Street Journal article described industry interest in a nascent Nielsen service that provides limited visibility into the “black box of online video streaming.” Consumers are increasingly turning to streaming video on-demand (SVOD) services like Netflix for entertainment, and licensing fees from these services are accounting for an ever-greater share of network and studio revenues. Ad dollars are also in play, as the trend toward product integration and other forms of content-embedded advertising means sponsor exposure is directly tied to total audience size. It follows that understanding program performance in an SVOD environment is becoming a mandate at media and entertainment companies.

So it makes sense for Nielsen to jump in with an SVOD measurement product. The Nielsen entry, however, has many limitations. If your interest in digital audience demand is highly tactical – that is, if you are seeking an estimate of digital audience demand that is limited to the content you own, confined to the US, excludes mobile-device viewing, and is only available for titles you have already licensed to an SVOD provider – Nielsen’s service may be for you.

If, like many, your video-streaming measurement needs extend beyond the box Nielsen has drawn, or you are troubled by the gaps in their approach, by all means, PLEASE READ ON!

There is a better source of measurement for online video streaming – one that can be used to both understand and anticipate on-demand performance. It records consumption for virtually all titles, everywhere, across devices. Peer-to-peer networks comprise the most popular SVOD service on the planet, and are frequented by progressive media consumers who are more likely to subscribe to commercial streaming services than their counterparts1.

While linear TV ratings and on-demand viewing often don’t align, peer-to-peer networks provide the same consumer benefit as commercial SVOD platforms -- on-demand access to long-form video. Peer-to-peer measurement thus tends to be a reliable leading indicator of content performance in an SVOD environment. Netflix CEO and SVOD industry captain Reed Hastings knows this. He and his team have been using insights from peer-to-peer data to inform content development and acquisition strategies, and gain an edge at the bargaining table for some time2.

On the surface, peer-to-peer measurement looks a lot like conventional “ratings” data. Audience size for titles of interest is available for different geographies and consumer segments over time. But when it comes to seeing the big picture for digital demand, developing a winning content strategy, or getting a leg up negotiating license fees, Tru Optik’s measurement solution separates itself from the Nielsen offering in a number of important ways:

• It’s Everywhere. Tru Optik continuously tracks peer-to-peer activity on a worldwide basis. In-depth reporting of TV and Movie demand is available for over 150 countries versus just the US.

• It’s Everyone. Over 500M consumers around the world will access media on peer networks this year (~50M in US), and Tru Optik passively measures this activity at the census-level. In contrast, Nielsen’s SVOD measurement is based on a panel of about 25,000 US households, only 10,000 of whom are estimated to actually stream long-form video3. The advantages of a sample size in the tens of millions versus one in the thousands are many. Suffice it to say Tru Optik’s approach allows our clients to understand SVOD preferences with a level of granularity and precision that cannot be touched by a panel-based solution.

• Covers All Devices. Tru Optik’s IP-based tracking records activity on all Internet-connected devices, including Desktop, Smartphones, Tablets, and Connected TV4. Consumers who stream video on mobile devices are younger and more multicultural, and the content they watch on those devices is not the same content they watch on large screens. Mobile accounts for up to half of longform online video consumption among some consumer segments5. If your SVOD measurement solution is not capturing this, how well do you really understand online video consumption?

• Captures All Titles. We mean ALL titles, including new releases that have not yet been licensed to SVOD services, and “sleepers” that for a variety of reasons may not have found their audience in traditional channels. Having fact-based evidence of digital demand before striking a deal with the Netflix’s of the world – i.e., when you have the most leverage – is essential to realizing full value for your content.

• Reports All Titles. Tru Optik clients see digital demand for their own properties and competitive titles, including original content from Netflix and Amazon, making Tru Optik the only commercially available behavior-based source of demand for popular breakthrough titles such as House of Cards, Orange Is The New Black, Transparent, and more.

• Uncovers Cross-Media Affinities. In addition to TV and Movies, Tru Optik captures digital Music, Video Game, and Software demand at the title level. This allows clients to generate in-depth crossmedia consumption profiles for viewers of nearly any title or set of titles. These sorts of affinity reports can inform ad targeting for streaming-video services, optimize programming line-ups, and unlock content sponsorship and brand placement opportunities.

Armed with Tru Optik measurement solutions, a growing number of media and entertainment companies are able to understand and anticipate demand for content on SVOD platforms. They extract more value from existing content by landing more favorable licensing and syndication deals, and they plow insights from this information back into the development process to acquire or produce content that wins in an on demand environment. They are living in Reed’s World.

So if you would like to crack the black box of online video demand wide open … if you want to be the best-informed person at the auction … if you seek to become an SVOD industry magnate … ask yourself this: Would Reed Hastings wait around for a partial audience-measurement solution? No, he would not.

And neither should you.



1Copy Culture in the US and Germany. The American Assembly-Columbia University. 2013. “Four Myths About Online Piracy, Who’s Doing It and Why,” The Sydney Morning Herald; March 9, 2015
2 ”Netflix Uses Pirate Sites to Determine What Shows to Buy,”; Sept. 14, 2013
3 Estimate based on Nielsen’s Total Audience Report for Q4 2014, showing that US household penetration of SVOD services is 40%
4Connected TV’s include “smart TV’s” with built-in Internet access and traditional TV’s augmented with a Roku box, Chromecast, or other Internet-connected streaming device
5Ooyala Global Video Index - Q2 2015

About Tru Optik
Tru Optik is a trailblazer in data driven millennial audience and consumer monetization. Armed with the largest census level audience measurement of global OTT media consumption, Tru Optik uses interest and behavior segmentation to empower brands, media companies and agencies to deliver targeted advertising and experiences to millennials across all channels.

Comments (0)

Let us know what you think