Brittany Slattery (OpenAP), who opened this discussion, explained that the new JIC was created by national programmers and media agencies for three main purposes: (1) To bring buyers and sellers to the table with equal voices; (2) To create baseline requirements for cross-platform measurement solutions and (3) To create a harmonized census-level streaming service data set across all of the programmers in the JIC. Fox, NBCU, Paramount and Warner Brothers Discovery are all JIC members, as are Dentsu, Group M, IPG Mediabrands, OMG and Publicis. The members hope to foster competition among multiple ad video measurement currencies. After her introduction, Danielle DeLauro (VAB) moderated a discussion with the representatives of three networks and Group M.
Justin Evans – Global Head of Analytics & Insights, Samsung Ads
Justin Evans of Samsung Ads uncovered findings from The Streaming Index, a bi-annual white paper Samsung Ads puts out for the marketers of TV apps. The report got its data from its universe of 45 million opted-in U.S. smart TVs, supplemented with an attitudinal survey of 1,000 Samsung smart TV owners from Q4 of 2022. While most studies focus on subscription data, this focused on usage. The number of people streaming TV apps and the time spent watching them has significantly increased year-over-year (Q3 2021-Q3 2022), and yet competition among platforms has grown fiercer. The reason, the churn rate has increased over the past two years. Such a landscape perpetuates a winner-take-most paradigm. TV app marketers should be thinking about ways to acquire a greater share of time and TV app platform providers should focus on loyalty and offering less expensive tiered options, as retained users over-index on time on such apps.
The number of average monthly streamers increased 17% year-over-year and the time spent streaming increased 31%.
On linear, 33 channels are viewed by the average user, but the average streaming user only has three to four apps. While changing channels on linear is seamless, changing between content happens more within the app, as changing apps isn’t frictionless. This makes the marketing barrier much greater.
Samsung Ads created a churn ratio which is lapsed users within 12-months divided by active users for the current month. They found that in Q3 2021, the overall churn ratio was 4.8 past users to one current one, while one year later it went up to seven (seven users churned for every one that stayed).
TV apps were divided into three tiers. Tier 1: the top 20% of apps based on average monthly user count, Tier 2: The next 20% based on average monthly user count, Tier 3: the 60% of apps with the smallest monthly user count.
The churn ratio was different depending on what tier a TV app was on. Tier 1 apps in Q3 of 2022 saw a 1.7 churn ratio, tier 2: 3.5 and tier 3: 9.7.
When it came to user share of the average TV app, 23% were new users, 24% returned users and 53% were retained users. With time share, retained users represent 73% of time spent on the average app (new users 14%, returned users 24%).
How can platforms increase retention? Fifteen percent of respondents said a deep library of exclusive content was most important. They also like seeing new content frequently.
Cost is also a factor. Ten percent said they used a platform because it was lower cost than others or free. Twenty-one percent said they would try a new service that was free or low cost. A high cost was also the number one factor of cancelling a streaming service (30%).
The report found a 6% retention rate among hybrid TV apps.
Mike Fisher – Executive Director, Investment Innovation, GroupM
Mike Fisher of GroupM shared findings from an eye-opening study conducted with iSpot.tv, investigating continuous play scenarios. It revealed a viewability issue with external, third-party, streaming devices such as Roku, Amazon Fire TV and gaming consoles Xbox and PlayStation. Such devices make the verification of ad delivery via TV apps more difficult. While such a device may signal that an ad was delivered, the TV screen itself may be off. Since external devices and the TVs they are attached to do not talk to each other, and so the message is lost. Fisher urged this as an industry-wide issue that multiple parties: manufacturers, publishers, agencies and advertisers, need to come together to fix.
iSpot curated data from three sources from the first half of 2021 (Jan. 1 – June 30). GroupM supplied trade desk impression logs from programmatic buying, including each IP address an impression was delivered to, the device ID and the unique ad identifier, the time stamp and the app that was used. The second source was iSpot pixel impression logs which included the timestamped feed of OTT impressions and the delivery device UA to validate impressions (TV mapping). These were compared and matched against iSpot’s ACR data (licensed from VIZIO/Inscape) which showed whether the TV was on or off at the time an impression was delivered.
The results showed that 15-20% of the time, when an ad is playing on such an external device, the TV is off. Every publisher and device combination were affected.
This doesn’t happen with most Smart TVs, although there is one that goes into a low power mode (Fisher wouldn’t say which).
The initial study did not look at input switching, such as when someone switches to a gaming console or cable box. But that is part of phase two, along with how time of day affects this phenomenon (i.e., people falling asleep in front of the TV) and expanded data sets to look at linear TV consumption.
GroupM is now testing what combinations of devices and cables make the problem better or worse and why. Older HDMI cables and having a sound bar can interrupt the power on/off signal, they found. Pucks and sticks, and other devices hidden behind TVs, also have a higher occurrence of continuous play.
Prompts that ask, “Are you still watching?” help avoid this. Some platforms wait four hours to ask, which is too long, but with short-form episodic viewing, asking too often can annoy viewers.
Brian West – SVP, Data and Measurement Strategy, NBCU TV & Streaming
Many viewers of programs on “traditional” networks like NBC are now watching those programs on digital platforms. To promote programs and increase tune-in, providers must reach viewers where they watch—that means: on all platforms. This presentation described the research conducted to explore the effectiveness of NBCU’s content marketing in launching and sustaining shows in today’s complex, fragmented viewing environment.
NBCU partnered with VideoAmp to obtain the cross-channel metrics needed to achieve optimal strategies regarding the linear-digital mix of content promotions as well as their frequency, length and creative executions. After years of development, the goal of measuring tune-in on linear, digital and walled garden platforms has now been reached.
As most viewers watch on several platforms, providers need a complete view of all platforms to optimize content promotion. Obtaining accurate measures of viewers’ use of all platforms, however, is not an easy task and requires measurement innovation.
NBCU partnered with VideoAmp to converge linear TV, digital and offline datasets through commingled identity graph to provide a view of the consumer across platforms. This approach allows NBCU to measure performance of all promotion tactics and determine which best drive conversions.
The analysis of these data is helping NBCU to improve the impact of promotions. The data show how important it is to promote content on both linear and digital platforms and determine, for example, the right mix of promos on linear and digital platforms.
The ARF hosted its annual flagship conference, AUDIENCExSCIENCE 2023, on April 25-26, 2023. The industry’s biggest names and brightest minds came together to share new insights on the impact of changing consumer behavior on brands, insights into TV consumption, campaign measurement and effectiveness, whether all impressions are equal, join-up solutions across multiple media, the validity, reliability and predictive power of Attention measures, targeting diverse audiences, privacy’s effect on advertising and the impact of advertising in new formats. Keynotes were presented by Tim Hwang, author of Subprime Attention Crisis, Robert L. Santos of the U.S. Census Bureau, Brian Wieser of Madison and Wall, LLC and Andrea Zapata of Warner Bros. Discovery.
Mike Bloxham – EVP, Global Media & Entertainment, Magid
Tony Cardinale – SVP, Data Science, Magid
Media use has been changing rapidly and that requires paying constant attention to how viewers use services, for example, which streaming services they subscribe to and which they cancel. Churn among streaming service subscribers is typically seen as a negative: Providers try to minimize churn, maximize retention. Based on analyses of their Subscriber Science Monitor data, Magid researchers Mike Bloxham and Tony Cardinale offered a fresh perspective on the drivers of churn as well as on the implications of churn for content providers. They conclude that churn is inevitable—and that some churn is correlated to growth and cultural relevance. The key to their insights was a segmentation analysis that focused on viewers’ propensity to churn.
As SVOD has become mainstream, subscriber growth does not come from non-streamers anymore, but largely from churn between services. This makes churn an important issue that requires careful analysis to inform providers’ strategy.
Churn is not simply a reflection of the quality of the service. The analyses show that there are viewer segments with different predispositions to churn. As a result, it is important to look at the churn rates among each segment to get a full understanding of consumer sentiment.
Not all churn is negative. Some churn, driven by engaged viewers, is indicative of a healthy service. Subscribers with higher churn rates are likely among the most important to the content subscription platforms, as they are deeply involved in the content and are most active on social about that content.
To manage churn and resubscription, we need to recognize the different motivations of viewer segments. This is important for the health of a streaming business.