‘It’s Not About Us Vs Them…I Just Can’t Sell Donuts’ – Foxtel Media Boss Explains Why An Alternative TV Trading Currency Is Vital

‘It’s Not About Us Vs Them…I Just Can’t Sell Donuts’ – Foxtel Media Boss Explains Why An Alternative TV Trading Currency Is Vital

Media buyers are already pouring in money – $75m – on Foxtel sports inventory that will be guaranteed by Kantar.

Foxtel has already begun receiving $75 million in financial commitments, about 20 per cent of annual advertising revenue, for inventory on programming that is measured using set top box data and rubber stamped by Kantar.

At The Future of TV Advertising conference, Foxtel Media chief executive Mark Frain said that when set top box data of more than one million subscribers is used to measure audiences two things happen: ratings increase and previous black spots in programming schedules are eliminated because its measurement system is far more granular and picks up the small TV audiences that can be missed by OZTam’s panel.

“Today, 40 per cent of our entire [schedule], channels and day parts registers zero (using OzTAM’s panel measurement system). I like donuts, but I just can’t sell them.

“Tomorrow, every spot is counted, and the audience distributed to all those channels. There’s audiences watching every day part in every channel, over a million sets up boxes reaching your standard two and a half million people.”

If Foxtel’s measurement system is applied to women’s AFL match, the audience lifts by 24%, for the NRL equivalent the rise is 52%.

TV audiences for magazine shows for both codes lifted by 153% and 49%, respectively.

“Today, over $75 million worth of our inventory on sports is now going to be guaranteed against Kantar in 2024,” said Frain, who said that he had been called a “grenade” earlier on in the day.

“That tells me this industry wants to move forward. I think we’ve just got to let data do the talking. What we’re doing with set top box data gives us the opportunity in the future to match that with attention data to match that with return on investment data.”

Pipes vs Mountains

Frain’s rationale for an alternative currency was backed up later at the event by IPG Mediabrands CEO Mark Coad.

“Frainy is not doing this because he’s trying to upset the industry, he’s doing this because he’s currently got a currency that’s giving him a schedule full of donuts when he knows there are people watching,” Coad said.

“All he’s done is handed over his information to a third party (Kantar) to put a big rubber stamp on it saying, ‘yes, that’s accurate’.

“We talk about investing in panels but are moving into a world where we’re not going to beam signals off a mountain anymore, we’re going to push them down pipes.”

Although OzTam CEO Karen Halligan staunchly defends the value of panel-based measurement, she coned there was an issue with ratings black spots and that OzTam was addressing the issue.

In the US, there are multiple TV trading currencies, including Nielsen ONE, VideoAmp Comscore and iSpot and agencies can choose which one best suits their clients needs.

Frain does not believe the Australia TV market is large enough to adopt four currencies, but more than one alternative is necessary.

Foxtel Media has set up a Video Futures Collective think tank with SBS, YouTube, Samsung Ads, Disney Advertising to work out next steps and how an alternative currency should shape up.

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