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Turner Stands by Todd to Quantify Viewership

Oct 24, 2005  •  Post A Comment

A number of high-profile cable networks and VOD programmers have partnered in the past month with measurement firm Rentrak to measure their on-demand views, but one network group is content to stick to its own internal metrics.

Turner Broadcasting opted more than a year ago to develop an in-house database, which it calls TODD (for Turner on-demand database).

Effective measurement of on-demand consumption is one of the critical issues confronting video-on-demand. Some progress has been made in the past year, but in the absence of standards and a uniformly accepted system for on-demand ratings, networks must cobble together what they can from measurement firms or their own various data sources.

Turner currently pulls together reports from Comcast and Time Warner, Turner’s MSO partners for VOD, that enable it to offer a comprehensive report to its advertisers on impressions across its VOD footprint.

“No one has all of the answers right now,” said Chris Pizzurro, VP of multimedia marketing at Turner Broadcasting, “so any good, concrete qualitative data and quantitative data that we and agencies and clients can get right now is a good thing. Everyone is trying to put the pieces together.”

With TODD, Turner inputs raw VOD data from Time Warner systems and Rentrak data supplied from Comcast to produce what’s effectively a national number for its VOD viewership. To be sure, the data is sparse at this point, as it is in general for VOD. But it includes total impressions and unique impressions for each Turner program in the flight, Mr. Pizzurro said.

“If someone bought 300,000 impressions over two months, I can say in month one you have 100,000 impressions, in month two you had 200,000. They have reached their goal,” he said.

In some cases, Turner also couples that quantitative data with qualitative data on brand awareness and recall in VOD advertising based on internal research.

Turner reports to clients each month on their VOD buys. “It’s our responsibility to make it as easy as we can,” Mr. Pizzurro said. “This is our current solution, but working with Nielsen or Rentrak, or both, in the future is always a possibility.”

Information on VOD viewing is important because advertisers buy based on a guarantee and rely on the networks to prove they delivered it, said Mitch Oscar, executive VP at Carat Digital, who has bought VOD ads for clients such as Schick on Cartoon Network. However, he said, advertisers want data from third-party providers as well, not just internal reports.

For now, the benefit the internal system brings is that Turner can report across its entire VOD universe, whereas measurement firms only report VOD measurement data to programmers across MSOs with which they have reporting deals.

Mr. Pizzurro added that Turner is refining TODD to include DMA information, which should be available in a few months.

Turner’s on-demand advertisers have included Warner Home Video on CNN and Cartoon Network, Lego on Cartoon Network, Xerox on CNN and Kraft on CNN, Cartoon, TBS and TNT.