What are the new trends that you have observed in the industry?
Craig: I think one of the important trends that we are seeing especially around the ‘watch-side’ is the splitting of content and advertising. Before it was a very linear relationship with advertising scheduled within programming and it was easy to track. Now, with programmatic advertising, the content and the commercials are not always packaged together. In fact, more often than not, they are completely different. So you and I can be watching the same programme at the same time with a different commercial feed. This is important for Nielsen because not only do we need to measure programming and the ad-load separately; we also have products around the digital ad-ratings.
Where do you observe such drastic scheduling?
Craig: On pay-TV and much more on the streaming services. Hence, traditional broadcasters have catch-up services now. Within their catch-up services, they will deliver different ad-load and every viewer will see a different ad. So the commercial content needs to be measured separately so that we can go back to brand owners to report how many people actually saw their commercials. This will propel us to start to do a return on investment measures around their commercials.
What have you noticed in the development of OTT in Asia- Pacific?
Craig: OTT growth has been explosive. It’s happening very quickly but there has already been consolidation in some countries. I think we are going to see more rationalisation in Australia, Indonesia and Malaysia. A handful has just started their OTT services because they needed to be in the market. I think huge investments are made without adequate justification, and that is where Nielsen is helping a number of OTT players. Nielsen is helping them to understand their audience and assist to measure their commercial loads. Initially, many OTT services had no commercials. So they didn’t need to be measured because it was purely content with subscribers. But as they start introducing commercials into these platforms, they have paid advertisers and commercials need to know how effective their ads are and how many viewers it has reached. This is where Nielsen started to get more and more involved.
So do you see a significant move from pay-TV to OTT?
Craig: Yes, I think what is happening in most of the countries is the fact that pay-TV in many markets has stalled, not necessarily going backward, but they just haven’t attracted the new viewers. That’s why we have been seeing many pay-TV platforms divesting into OTT platforms.
So, advertisers are spending on a totally different platform altogether?