Monday, March 4, 2024

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    James Warburton leads Seven troops into OzTAM’s new Total TV ratings world

    The start of ratings survey 2024 is just over a week away, but OzTAM is changing the way it reports TV ratings from January 29.

    After more than three years of lobbying and pushing by Seven, the free-to-air TV industry is finally about to change the way it reports audiences in the media and trade publications.

    You want to know early Monday morning what people watched on Sunday night in Sydney and Melbourne and other metro markets? Forget about it. it is now all about national.

    At this stage Mediaweek is not even sure if share data for how the channels performed will be made available. The challenge there is to find a way to measure national channel share.

    Welcome, VOZ Total TV ratings

    On Monday next week, the ratings reports you’ve seen for more than 20 years will be replaced by new daily VOZ audience reports, which media will not receive until 11.35am.

    As we reported earlier this week, the new ranking metric for most popular shows will be reach. Average audience numbers will still be available, but no breakdown of who watched where. There will also be no list of subscription TV or multichannel hits.

    OzTAM will finally be counting all people watching and combining it into one figure including metro, regional and BVOD.

    Seven’s chief executive James Warburton has been leading the charge for change. He has managed to push through the national audience figure which will be important for Seven which performs strongly in regional Australia as well as metro markets.

    In a memo to Seven West Media staff this week, Warburton said: “This is a big and important moment for the TV industry, as it means that – for the first time – we will be accurately reporting the true size of our audiences, including the reach of our content as well as average daily total TV audiences and most importantly they will be fully national measurement.

    OzTAM no longer releasing ‘the smallest audience numbers’

    He explained how under the existing data releases, overnight audience numbers reflected the average audience number in thousands in metropolitan markets only.

    “As an industry we encouraged people to focus on the smallest audience numbers and ignore catch-up and digital viewing. Not anymore.”

    Media will only be given the new VOZ data from next Monday.

    The Seven West Media chief executive then explained why there will be a new metric that is the focus of the reports:

    “The new VOZ reports will rank programs by audience reach (they will also give average total TV audience numbers nationally). Reach is the key performance metric for advertisers, and reach-ranked viewership provides a more comparable metric to other media, in particular online.

    “While other media have spruiked what seemed like higher reach numbers, television will now be directly comparable to demonstrate our size and scale. Importantly this VOZ data will go directly into the reach and frequency systems of the media buyers and is a crucial step in getting advertising revenue share back to our medium.”

    James Warburton leads Seven troops into OzTAM’s new Total TV ratings world

    Seven’s executive in the OzTAM boardroom

    Warburton paid credit to the executive charged with arguing Seven’s case in the OzTAM boardroom. “To the credit of OzTAM and Nielsen as well as our hard-working Insights team – where the project has been led by Craig Johnson – Australia is the only market in the world to provide daily next-day overnight all-screen total TV viewing data. It’s worth noting that the VOZ database is massive: one day of VOZ processed data equals three years of broadcast-only data.”

    Johnson, in his third year with Seven, is a 15-year Nielsen veteran and before that was research director at Nine.

    The size of the task processing the data is being given as the reason the data will be released late in the morning each day.

    Finishing off his note to staff, Warburton said: “VOZ data is the new ratings currency. Like all change there will be some noise and no doubt some challenges. This is an absolute game changer for Seven and we all need to get behind it.

    While it is a game changer for Seven, it will be interesting to see how it impacts the perception of the way Nine and 10 are performing over the first few weeks of survey.

    Nine is fortunate it leads into survey 2024 with Married at First Sight which will cushion the impact of the national reach rankings.

    James Warburton signed off his memo to staff with a rousing call to arms in his pre-survey address: “Let’s smash all comers in 2024!!”

    See also: Seven succession plan – Warburton out, Jeff Howard in and Stokes remains

    The post James Warburton leads Seven troops into OzTAM’s new Total TV ratings world appeared first on Mediaweek.

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