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A Swiss alternative to audience measuring technologies

19 March 2014 / 19:03:45  GRReporter
3283 reads

Anastasia Balezdrova

Can you imagine being able watching your favourite actor in your favourite series, the screenplay of which matches your taste exactly, and is directed by your favourite director? This is wonderful, isn’t it?

The good news is that this is no longer just a dream but a totally feasible goal. Television audiences will be pleased to know that television channels are already interested in offering them exactly what they want and technology provides them with the necessary tools.

In every business, the ability to predict the future is a great advantage. In the case of one of the most popular recent series, "House of Cards", the Netflix production company knew that it would achieve worldwide success long before shooting even the first frame. The company that has 27 million users in the U.S. and 33 million worldwide had simply calculated the data which indicated that the audience liked the work of director David Fincher in "The Social Network". A film starring Kevin Spacey was also preferred by many viewers as well as the British version of "House of Cards".

These three circles of interest on the part of the audience helped Netflix decide to buy the rights to the series and shoot it again.

The TV and film industries have always used data to plan their projects. Their goal has always been to attract the largest possible number of viewers, which leads to obtaining a greater share of the advertising cake. In addition, it is not small at all, as advertising revenues worldwide amount to 147.1 billion euro annually.

In today's high-tech era, measuring the rating of TV programmes with the old audience measurement system seems almost primitive. Nevertheless, even today the majority of countries calculate the audience viewership of TV broadcasts based on data obtained from reporting devices installed in the homes of a small number of users. "In Britain, their number is 5,100 and in Germany 5,000," said Abraham Bernstein from ViSTA-TV, a company for online viewership statistics, at the European Data Forum in Athens.

The company's system simultaneously monitors the preferences of 3 million viewers, 250 different TV channels and the electronic programme guide on a 7-day basis. "The results are then processed and we obtain three results: The first is real-time statistics of what viewers watch, the second is also real-time recommendations for other programmes that they may like, and the third is to connect to the global data system." ViSTA-TV collects data from two major television networks, namely the BBC and Zattoo. According to Bernstein, the data collected in this way provides real data on the preferences of the audience and can help towards the proper targeting of their strategies.

At the same forum, Franck Cotton from the French National Statistical Institute presented the electronic platform TeraLab, in which both open and strictly confidential data can be entered, without threatening the latter in some way.

"The platform is to be launched this year. Its structure allows the storage and processing of large amounts of data, including highly confidential data," he said. The data that do not need to be made available to everyone are archived in a "bubble" that is isolated from the rest of the system. Furthermore, access to them will not be possible without a special device that is supplied to the customers who are interested in them. "Anyway, the platform provides for continuous monitoring which records every action that takes place," added Cotton.

This feature of the platform makes it available not only to different companies but also to public institutions that handle confidential data, especially as it allows them to work remotely.

"The big bet for us is to use the capabilities of technology in order to protect user data," said chief information integrity strategist of Microsoft Peter Cullen. "Today's model is not effective and the new one should incorporate appropriate policies and legislation. That is, data access must be allowed to the right people in the right direction for proper use," he added.

Tags: Media newsTechnologyDataAudience measuring statisticsReal-time statisticsEuropean Data ForumAthens
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