Connected TV has grown to be a popular and convenient way for many Americans to watch content. This trend surfaces with the realization that people are defining TV in many different ways. In a Tremor Video and Hulu survey, US connected TV users were asked to define how they watch television. 72% of millennials followed by 70% of young adults said that they define “watching TV” as watching via digital source, while only 55% of young adults and 63% of millennials said they define “watching TV” as watching via cable/satellite.

Watching tv

Not only is viewership changing in the TV/video ad space, but the way in which advertisers are spending their ad dollars in this sector is changing as well. According to the Interactive Advertising Bureau, there is expected to be a 62% increase in mobile video ad spend as well as a 61% increase in desktop video ad spend. Meanwhile, broadcast/cable TV ad spend is expected to increase only 36%, and decrease 16%.

watching tv 2

Advertising dollars are shifting due to the awareness of the growing preference of digital viewership among consumers. However, with changes in the way that television is being consumed, comes changes in the way that audiences need to be measured. A March eMarketer report stated, “The measurement system’s job of reporting TV ratings has gotten more difficult, as audiences continue to fragment more of their viewing across hundreds of TV channels, smartphones, tablets, and desktops to watch content.” As television content continues to develop and consumers continue to watch across various platforms, there is a need now more than ever for accurate, efficient metrics. Advertisers need to have reliable measurements across all viewing platforms in order to plan efficiently and provide proof of ROI for their clients. Consequently, data companies, like Nielsen and comScore, are responding effectively.

As television audiences continue to fragment, new forms of measurement and scale are vital for data companies to create and achieve. According to a recent eMarketer report, Nielsen’s Total Content Ratings (TCR) system is expanding and seeks to measure and report television audiences regardless of where they are watching content. This includes audiences that are consuming both linear TV as well as audiences that are absorbing content from connected digital devices such as tablets and desktops. In the same report, comScore’s cross-platform measurement capabilities are described as numbering 10 million individuals across all types of media platforms from televisions to smartphones. Although total content measurement among TV and digital will take time to be fully developed, progress is being made.

Nielsen’s measurement of TV content across all platforms continues to progress, with an announcement last week that Digital Content Ratings (DCR) will now include Facebook, Hulu, and YouTube. With this advancement, Nielsen is providing publishers, agencies, and advertisers with comparable and reliable metrics in all forms of content across all forms of media. In response to Nielsen’s recent announcement of expanding their DCR reach, publishers and agencies believe that they are receiving a more complete picture of their audiences while acquiring the ability to measure engagement. On the other hand, comScore is said to be currently developing an audience measurement system that will include TV, digital, mobile, and VOD.

Connected TV measurement is advancing steadily as digital viewership is growing quickly. Data companies continue to make progress in measuring audiences across all types of platforms, while advertisers continue to be exposed to these new forms of measurement. Both will thrive and benefit greatly.