Measurement of online video views only months away

The Broadband Measurement Working Group (BMWG), which is developing a standard methodology for measuring viewing of online video content, is to begin testing data collection for its metric next month.

The group, which includes representatives from the BBC, BT Vision, Channel 4, Five, ITV, Sky and Virgin Media, as well as ABCE, BARB, and the IPA, has agreed a method of capturing and processing VOD data and is preparing to test it.

Ron Coomber, chair of the BMWG, said the group’s work had stalled as members developed their systems to capture the data but the first results could be ready for processing as early as next month.

“We’re waiting for the companies to update and develop their software. Given the current climate, software development isn’t a high priority but everyone is still on board and hopefully we should have some data to crunch next month,” he said.

If successful, the metric could be adopted as the agreed standard for VOD viewing measurement.

The moves coincide with efforts by the Internet Advertising Bureau to standardise online video advertising, with the launch of best-practice guidelines for the sector.

The guidelines, developed by the IAB’s Video Council, aim to provide marketers with a single point of reference for online video ad formats and recommended size, positioning and length for formats such as pre-, mid- and post-roll ads, in-video and overlay ads, product placement and brand-funded content.

The recommendations have been welcomed by the industry, which is keen to see standardisation to help advertisers increase their use of online video advertising.

Broadcasters in particular are keen to see greater uniformity as online video becomes “absolutely intrinsic” to business growth and TV revenues suffer in the recession.

Errol Baran, head of new media advertising for Channel 4, said, “We welcome these guidelines as acceptance of the fact that online video isn’t going away and is only going to continue to get bigger.”

Matt Simpson, chairman of the IPA Digital Media Group and group head of digital at OMD, said the guidelines were a significant step which would help the sector ready itself for the arrival of metrics such as the BMWG’s.

“There’s increasing pressure for accountability in all media and the video market needs standards, guidelines and research as much as any other. It’s a great step towards getting everyone working together,” he said. “As TV overlaps online more, it’s vital for online to develop tools that count across both platforms.”

Sky also has ambitions to include online viewing in its Sky View panel, a research tool which combines viewing behaviour of 7,000 Sky digital homes with actual brand purchasing data from Taylor Nelson Sofres World panelists.

Giles Ivey, sales director for Sky Digital Media, said, “We don’t have a way to measure online video and that’s something we need to look at. We hope to take what we’ve done with Sky View and look at that online too. The more you know about your customer the better.”

This story first appeared on

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