French audience measurement company Médiamétrie is introducing timeshifted TV viewing measurement thanks to watermarking and audiometer technology. From January 2011, programme ratings come in three flavours: 'live', 'live+1' and 'live+8'. Measurement of timeshift viewing becomes crucial for broadcasters as DVR penetration increases, recording behaviour increases and timeshift represents a growing portion of total TV viewing. Timeshift measurement has already been implemented in several TV markets over the last three years (US, UK, Germany, Sweden, etc) and has generally led to an increase in measured TV consumption.
Based on tests and simulations, it is believed that 'live+8' will increase daily viewing figures by an average three minutes (+1.5%) compared to 'live'. That is an average between homes equipped with DVRs - one in four French households - who time-shift (much) more than three minutes a day and non-DVR homes who do little or no time-shifting. Médiamétrie does not specify DVR homes' precise behaviour at this point but Screen Digest calculation suggests they already timeshift 10% to 12%. In the UK, where PVR penetration is much higher - already 50% of households - and usage more mature, DVR homes were already timeshifting 14% of their television consumption in 2009.
Importantly, the advertising market (buying and selling sides) has already agreed that 'consolidated audience' (live+8) would be the new standard industry currency. This is a difference with what happened a few years ago in the US where the market could not immediately agree on which of the new currencies should be used and whether time-shifted impacts should be monetized at all. Inflated 'Live+8' ratings may automatically create the feeling that ad exposure delivery is greater than previously thought and therefore actual CPTs smaller than previously calculated. In that respect it might help sales houses to slightly increase their prices and revenues without triggering a visible rise in cost per CPTs.
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