For better and worse
This new methodology integrates TV viewing on PCs, tablets and smartphones into overall viewing numbers, and also includes other data sets, such as set-top box channel selections and video-on-demand server logs. Without hybrid methodologies, TV consumption will be under-counted, particularly for the younger age groups that are more likely to watch on devices other than TV sets and more likely to use video-on-demand (VOD), with an adverse impact on advertising and subscription revenues.
The current approach to quantifying TV consumption was most accurate when there were relatively few channels and no other viewing choices—viewers watched all video content on TV sets. Back then, sampling a few thousand viewers provided an accurate guide to how many people watched a program, and the share for each channel at any point in time could be estimated with a high degree of certainty. Watching TV remains a firm feature in the lives of billions of people, but where, when and what they watch has evolved and requires a new measurement approach. Hybrid measurement will likely be a work in progress in 2014, with significant iteration required. In the long run it should be more accurate, but in the near term it might introduce some distortions.