The measurement of TV audiences prepares its reform

The boxes of telecom operators are full of data. They could significantly improve television audience research. The CIM hopes to complete the file by the summer.

The Media Information Center (CIM) celebrates its 50th anniversary. And could soon afford a nice birthday present in the form of a new TV audience survey. Whatever may be said, the small screen remains buoyant with advertisers. It was the medium that profited the most from the recovery at the end of the first half of the year. But its consumption is eroded in favor of deferred viewing and on international platforms. Which threatens its advertising revenue. Hence the need for the advertising market to havemore precise audience measurement tools.

1.500

homes

The television audience study is based on a panel of 1,500 households.

For decades the market has relied on a panel of 1,500 households (750 in each linguistic community) equipped with a box measuring their consumption: who watches what, at what time, for how long. 1,500 households out of a total of around 5 million is very little. And the resources allocated to the CIM are limited (read below). The solution could come from telecom operators: “The idea is to combine the data from their decoders with our audience measurement study, explains Stef Peeters, Director General of CIM; telcos have consumption volume data at household level, we have person profile data. If we could combine the two, we would have a terrific TV study. “



“The sample size of the current CIM study is too small, some programs are escaping its radar.”

Bernard Cools

“Chief intelligence officer” de l’agence Space

“The sample size of the current CIM study is too small, some programs escape its radar”, adds Bernard Cools, “chief intelligence officer” within the Space media agency. “Using millions of telcos data would allow us to be much more precise.”

Decoders to report

The telcos are not against but remain cautious. “Telenet has indeed taken the initiative, after agreement with certain broadcasters, toexplore how we could help the CIM to enrich audience measurement, confirms its spokesperson, Coralie Miserque. We are still in the exploratory phase: the CIM is currently studying, with the help of Ipsos, a sample of anonymized data coming from our decoders. At the end of this process, the different parties will work to define a methodology that can serve as a new standard for measuring television audiences, ”she notes.

At Proximus we are satisfied with a fairly “corporate” response: “We are studying how to help improve the current measurement of CIM TV on the basis of our data,” replies spokesperson Haroun Fenaux. Better metric would benefit the local advertising and media ecosystem and we are ready to support this process. “

The subject is delicate. In addition to a question of cost – we are talking about a figure with 6 zeros per year at the expense of the CIM – sharing valuable data is not trivial and questions in terms of RGPD and of user consent arise. In the background, the idea is also to strengthen personalized advertising, a holy grail for some advertisers. “Advertising models will be more hybrid with traditional spot and targeted advertising; for that we need big data, adds Stef Peeters. According to him, the new study could see the light of day in the second quarter of 2022.

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The CIM, a tool for improvement

Born from the merger, in 1971, of two organizations controlling on the one hand the distribution (sales) of the press and, on the other, its audience, the CIM is the non-profit organization which manages media audience research in Belgium. It works on the goodwill of the tripartie of which he is the incarnation: the media, the advertisers and the communication agencies. It is this tripartite who finances it.

Most his means are limited: around ten million per year and a dozen permanent employees. To which are added, within various technical commissions (television, press, internet, radio, etc.) experts from the tripartite. “In Sweden, there are 28 employees just for the TV study,” notes its managing director Stef Peeters, who would like to see his envelope grow.

In order to improve its tools, recruit staff (difficult to find, because they are very specialized), and thus escape some reviews like, for example, those of the head of the RTBF: “the audience measurement tools of the CIM are no longer at all adapted to the realities of our professions, they operate in media silos by media, while all are omnichannel and consumers multiplatforms. It is urgent to change all this “, has more than once lamented Jean-Paul Philippot. A reshuffle of the TV study could be a first response to these criticisms.

The summary

  • CIM, the non-profit organization which manages media audience research in Belgium, celebrates its 50th anniversary
  • To face the threat of Gafans on the Belgian advertising market, the CIM is working on improving television audience research.
  • The idea is to use the data generated by the decoders of the telecom operators
  • The CIM hopes to see the file succeed before the summer