A Set Top Box Data Ratio

MPG held its Collaborative Alliance meeting in New York on June 3, 2010. At the meeting, a group of us who formed the Collaborative Set Top Box Data Committee posited a method to apply set top box data to help networks that are not rated by Nielsen to translate their data for use by the agencies and their national television buyers. As we stressed during the meeting, this is directional and not intended as a data comparison.

This ratio percentage was not created in a vacuum. We consider it a next step in a series of careful analyses of various cuts of set top box data from different data aggregators. We present it as one more example of the efficacy and usability of set top box data for measurement.

Past analyses have shown that when set top box data results are compared to Nielsen:
 There are similar performance ranks for larger networks
 There are similar percent share of GRPs for broadcast networks
 There is a high correlation between homes delivery of the two data sets in some local markets.

With the knowledge gained from these past analyses, we felt that we could create a ratio percentage using STB data that can be used to help translate the performance of networks that are not measured by Nielsen into an agency’s measurement parlance. What we did was to compare the delivery of a chosen network to a select affinity group of measured-by-Nielsen networks (such as Kids, Sports, Business and General Entertainment) in STB data and then apply this ratio to the actual Nielsen delivery for those same measured networks.

We examined a range of networks using Rentrak’s AT&T U-Verse data including Bloomberg, INSP, Sprout and Wealth. All these networks subscribed to Rentrak measurement. This does not include set top boxes in their Dish and other platforms. For the record, Rentrak reaches over 15 million tv sets. For the purposes of this analysis we used a subset which was the complete U-Verse universe of 2.5 million homes.

The following people were involved in discussions about the project at some point in its development: Joe Abruzzo (MPG), Brad Adgate (Horizon), Matthew Bayer (Carat), Shari Anne Brill (Independent), John Cogan (OMD), Ed DiNicola (Independent), Andy Donchin (Carat), Joan Fitzgerald (comScore), Frank Foster (AT&T U-Verse), Jason Kanefsky (MPG), Bill Livik (Rentrak), John Morse (Byron Media), Jim Multari (PBS Sprout), Mitch Oscar (MPG),
Stu Rodnick (Three Screen Nation), Art Salisch (Scarborough), Jonathan Steuer (AT&T U-Verse), Rick Wardell (INSP), Charlene Weisler (Independent) and Leslie Wood (Independent).

Sprout Example
In creating a ratio percentage for Sprout, we chose three Kids prototype networks that were measured by Nielsen and that best matched the Sprout profile. Using Rentrak AT&T U-Verse of 2.5 Million households for Primetime 8-11p we examined the following weeks: January 18-24, 2010, October 19-25, 2009, July 20-26, 2009 and April 20-26, 2009. We examined the same week per quarter to help ascertain seasonality.

Starting with January 18-24, 2010, we grossed and then averaged the audience delivery for the three prototype networks. Then we calculated Sprout’s percentage delivery of that average which was 9% for that January week.

Rentrak AT&T U-Verse Universe Impressions (Average Audience)
Cartoon 17,379 -
ABC Family 13,259 -
Nickelodeon 38,389 -
Total 69,027 (100%)
Average 23,009 -
Sprout 2,037 (9%)

We then examined Nielsen performance for the three prototype networks for the same week in January, grossed and averaged these deliveries and then applied the 4% ratio to the average. The result was 38,357 or Sprout.

Nielsen National Impressions (Average Audience)
Cartoon 382,521
ABC Family 680,379
Nickelodeon 215,683
Total 1,278,583
Average 426,194

Ratio % 9%
Sprout Average Audience 38,357

After calculating January, we wanted to be sure that the ratio was stable and not subject to seasonality. In applying the methodology to the other three quarters we found that the ratio percentage was comparable.

2Q09 3Q09 4Q09 1Q10
Sprout Ratio % 10% 8% 10% 9%

While the creation of performance ratios through Set Top Box Data is still in its developmental stages, the ratios created with prototypes using Rentrak’s AT&T U-Verse data has met with research and buyer sign-off as a plausible approach at agencies such as MPG and Carat. We hope to be able to examine more datasets over the next few months. This initial step indicates to us that the ratio method has the potential to create meaningful, comparable delivery impressions for certain networks in the television universe for use at the agencies.

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