Is it Time to Start Measuring Viewership Different?
The hot topic across entertainment these days, is views. With an entirely new landscape in media, production companies are scrambling to find, keep and most importantly measure viewership. We touched on this a little bit here. But with technology doing as it always does, and growing faster than corporate suits can account for, shouldn’t we start looking at measuring engagement differently? If we do, wouldn’t it allow for more “targeted marketing”? Better product placement and in turn more sales and exposure for sponsors?
With platforms like Netflix, Amazon Prime, Playstation Vue, Hulu, YouTube, and various broadcaster specific apps, mainstream TV and cable providers are dying. Put simply: people are unplugging and going directly to what they want. They’re not channel surfing anymore. Broadcasters can no longer rely on the consumer stumbling upon their show or advert. Consumers are going straight to the source or, the “most sorted-to-their-liking” places, to get their entertainment. There is only three wildcards in this formula: local news, live sports and live news. Some may argue that those three programming types, are single handedly keeping people from “cutting the cord”. I know it’s why I held off. I was scared I wouldn’t get my live sports anymore. Especially things like the NFL which are broadcast on local channels. The NFL though, just announced a partnership with Amazon Prime to broadcast Thursday Night Football in conjunction with the NFL Network, which is also in partnership with CBS.
With all this in mind why do we still only gauge ratings by just eyeballs on the TV? People are streaming, downloading and watching live broadcasts via Facebook, Instagram, Periscope and Twitter. Here’s some stats to consider: During the second quarter of 2016, roughly 812,000 U.S. customers canceled their pay TV subscriptions, Traditional TV subscriptions are expected to continue on a decline, falling 1.5% per year over the next decade, lower than previous anticipated declines of 1.7% (courtesy of Time.com). On the contrary here’s something to consider for racing (and sports in general): Fernando Alonso’s first test at Indianapolis garnered 2 million views, worldwide. Key words in that last sentence, “test” and “million”. That was two million people, on a Tuesday, watching one car drive around an oval. Those numbers coming from a combined total of Facebook and YouTube.
If Indycar for example went to potential sponsors or partners and said “Look, from Friday morning to Sunday afternoon, we have a combined viewership of ___” Instead of “We average a 0.32 Nielsen Rating”, wouldn’t that sound better? Eyeballs are eyeballs, viewers are viewers. Whether they catch it on DVR, stream it, watch live on their laptop, phone or tablet, or do it the old-fashion way and sit in front of their TV. All of those people, during a race weekend, with sponsors on the sides of vehicles, saw those cars or signs or billboards or commercials, right? So instead of saying a 0.32 rating maybe combined viewership for a particular weekend was 0.5 or 0.6? Which looks and sounds a lot better.
With an ever evolving landscape of technology and entertainment I think it’s a missed opportunity for sponsors, marketers and companies/organizations to not take into account the whole pie. Even better, the internet can tell you specifics that TV can’t. Such as each viewers amount of time watching, what else they watch or search for, how often they clicked away and came back to the broadcast or live stream. Targeted marketing is already happening in our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram feeds. It’s just a matter of time before it happens to our streaming services. As annoying as all that may be, auto sport, which is absolutely dependent upon sponsors and investors, I believe have the most to gain.
What are your thoughts on the ratings system? Are we doing it right? Would you be okay with targeted ads during live streams, if it meant racing was gaining sponsors again? Connect with me on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook and let me know. Thanks for reading!