How to Measure viewership in an On-Demand World
With a VOD-enabled market estimated at 24 million homes, the medium offers more questions than answers at this point, chief among them the absence of a viable business model. Measurement of this new and rapidly growing non-linear medium is another major unknown. In theory, VOD offers the kind of targeting and accountability that marketers increasingly demand, yet for now it is undetermined just who is watching.
ErinMedia, TNS Media Research, Nielsen and others each have products (most in beta) that will begin to provide answers however there is one company that appears to show great promise. In 2004 RenTrak, which began tracking Video store rentals and box office returns, expanded into the VOD measurement business. It has since inked deals with 19 content producers and has contracts in place with 53% of VOD enabled homes through agreements with Comcast, Cablevision, Charter and other MSO’s. “We processed 1.7 billion VOD views last year versus 100 million in 2004,” reports Ken Papagan, Rentrak’s EVP of Business development. “That’s how rapidly the category’s growing.”
All the current products on the market are typically web-based tools, which can aggregate On-Demand transactions in real time, ultimately enabling clients to “interpret” VOD viewing trends. Although this is a dramatic improvement, they still lack the comprehensive picture that marketer’s desire. We will relook at this topic over the next 12 months as the new tools and products continue to develop.