CIMM meeting: Where's Canoe?
The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement convened at MTV Networks’ headquarters in New York’s Times Square today (November 10) to hear how the research industry can use set-top-box data to improve knowledge about viewing habits and potentially help tie that data to purchase decisions. Advertisers these days are less interested in TV ratings and more interested in defining the channels that are helping maximize their ad dollars and prompt spending.
Nielsen, TNS, TiVo, Rentrak and TRA all attended the meeting to discuss their varying abilities as part of CIMM’s RFI process. Question is: Where are the companies that own that data? Where are the cable systems operators and their emissary, Canoe Ventures? They seem to be missing from the picture. Shouldn’t the cable companies be taking center stage today if they are serious about influencing a change? Perhaps Canoe has plans to join forces with one or more of the companies presenting today when things shake out, or perhaps each cable operator will go its own way. We hear Time Warner believes it has the best method for sifting such data. Either way, we’re eager to hear about the cable MSO’s plans beyond the endless privacy issues.
Canoe said in an email statement: “As we said when CIMM announced their formation, Canoe welcomes news of this coalition — it is another example of marketplace demand for granular viewing data, and we look forward to working with ALL of our founding MSOs and industry partners to help meet this demand. We encourage any initiative that promotes innovation in media measurement, recognizes the potential of data to enhance advertising by improving measurement and accountability, and could accelerate the monetization of new products.”
One hope among the CIMM members is that set-top-box data can help companies at the end of the ratings spectrum. Many Hispanic-targeted cable channels and niche services, such as a small but highly-targeted service like a Fox Business News, will be able to make a better sell with more viewing data. TV executives estimate that there’s a couple of billion dollars that could come to long tail cable channels if measurement becomes more precise. Currently, if a channel rates under a 0.01 (less than 30,000 viewers) Nielsen can’t track it. Set-top-box data changes that, and Nielsen is also working on its own set-top-box measurement methods.
As CIMM members are of course well aware, those little black boxes come with a host of issues themselves. Cable companies do not know what demographic groups are in front of the boxes, or for that matter whether anyone’s tuning in if the box is on, but everyone is in bed. Not all set-top-boxes have the ability to provide data back to the cable companies and how to account for the 10% of Americans who have no cable box, but are broadcast only homes, is another problem. Then there are other trials — how frequently cable companies ought to pick up viewing habits. Every second, ten seconds? These are old issues, but as one ad agency told AdVerse today, “we really need set-top box data,” to fill in the gaps. The ball may have started rolling today but we’ll need to see some deadlines attached to how soon we get there, because the cable industry’s set top box data as TV measurement solution has been too long in the making.