UAE TV audience system given green light to rate shows a hit or a miss

The move is likely to appeal to advertisers, who will now be able to get tangible feedback about audience figures.
Michael Angarano, Eric Johnson, Clive Owen, Louis Butelli, Eve Hewson and André Holland in The Knick. Courtesy OSN
Michael Angarano, Eric Johnson, Clive Owen, Louis Butelli, Eve Hewson and André Holland in The Knick. Courtesy OSN

For the first time in the UAE, TV executives will know whether a show is a hit or a flop after the country’s audience ratings system got the green light for expansion.

The TV audience rating system, known as tview, has been deemed suitable for industry-wide use by the Paris-based auditors Cesp after numerous improvements.

The move is likely to appeal to advertisers, who will now be able to get tangible feedback about audience figures.

“This is long overdue,” said Philip Shepherd, a partner at PwC. “In the UAE having the first base measurement system is great news for advertisers. Out of all of this more accurate audience share is measured. There will be winners and losers.”

Tview was initially set up in 2012 by Emirates Media Measurement Company (EMMC), a joint venture of industry players. The first audit in 2013 highlighted setbacks but now the company has made the required improvements.

“As a people meter initiative, tview is a vital tool to support the growth of the media industry in the UAE and region,” said Noura Al Kaabi, the chair of EMMC and chief executive of twofour54. “Robust measurement of viewer habits that the industry can trust is vital to support our broadcasters and advertisers.

“We invite the industry to demonstrate their support for better audience measurement in the UAE by taking steps to adopt tview, as recommended by the auditors.”

The TV ratings agency Kantar Media said the tview system delivered a constant, real-time stream of information, revealing tuning behaviour during programmes and commercials.

This allowed Kantar to tell clients which commercials were being watched, as well as which ones had the strongest impact.

The information also allows the agency to analyse which position in the programme or commercial block was most effective for a specific brand, and which markets would create the best return on investment for brands.

The information also allows the agency to analyse which position in the programme or commercial block was most effective for a specific brand, and which markets would create the best return on investment for brands.

The audit found that compliance (active participation of panel homes) had improved from below 60 per cent to nearly 77 per cent, putting it well on the way to the internationally recognised target of 85 per cent.

Visits to panel homes showed that about 90 per cent of TV sets were being properly used to record viewer preferences, up from 74 per cent a year ago.

“We understand this is a significant and game-changing set-up for the industry, but we have to catch up with the rest of the world,” said Christopher O’Hearn, the general manger at EMMC. “Seventy-eight countries have electronic TV measurement systems, some established for decades. If the television industry does not embrace it here, then it will continue to be undervalued.”

However some analysts are a more little sceptical about tview’s impact on the advertising sector.

“The UAE has never been a priority market for TV advertisers,” said Elie Haber, managing partner at Fusion5 advertising. “The agencies rely on Ipsos [a global market research company] data and use the Saudi market to advertise into the UAE market. It is a plus, but it will not have a huge impact when it comes to media planning and it depends on whether the agencies will endorse it.

Mr O’Hearn said: “Ultimately better measurement means more money for better programmes, better advertising and a better service to TV viewers.”

thamid@thenational.ae

Follow The National’s Business section on Twitter

Published: December 15, 2014 04:00 AM

SHARE

Editor's Picks
NEWSLETTERS
Sign up to:

* Please select one

Most Read