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Measuring 'over-the-top' audiences: on the potential of alternative measurement techniques

Kristin Van Damme (UGent) , Cédric Courtois (UGent) and Lieven De Marez (UGent)
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Abstract
In hindsight, audiences’ viewing practices have radically changed in the past decades. Through gradual technological innovation, television viewers are increasingly empowered to access a variety of delivery channels (e.g. over-the-top television, video-on-demand services), in a multitude of environments. This accumulated audience autonomy obscures and pressures the traditional conception of television as a unified mass medium, in favour of abundant personalized features (Courtois, Verdegem, & De Marez, 2013; Napoli, 2010). This presentation first elaborates on this inherent fragmentation, which poses significant challenges for various stakeholders, ranging from academia to media professionals. Nonetheless, the necessity remains apparent. Public service broadcasters are accountable for honoring their license agreements (audience-as-public), and commercial broadcasters more than ever to prove that their products are viewed by specific consumer profiles, so to avoid tensions with advertisers (audience-as-market; Ang, 1991). Second, we present the results derived from a research project on alternative measurement techniques. More specifically, a panel of 21 households had a traditional audiometric measurement system installed, and/or were handed a free account for an over-the-top television service. The latter service enabled the supplementary collection of elaborate log data of views. Hence, two types of viewing data were collected. In the presented analysis, we elaborate on the supplementary nature of these two streams of data, matching them with qualitative accounts on viewing practices and measurement awareness, derived from in-depth interviews. We conclude that despite evident problems, such an approach might prove valuable in partially closing the gap between traditional living room-centered measures and alternative viewing patterns.

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Chicago
Van Damme, Kristin, Cédric Courtois, and Lieven De Marez. 2014. “Measuring ‘Over-the-top’ Audiences: On the Potential of Alternative Measurement Techniques.” In New Audience Practices, Abstracts.
APA
Van Damme, Kristin, Courtois, C., & De Marez, L. (2014). Measuring “over-the-top” audiences: on the potential of alternative measurement techniques. New Audience Practices, Abstracts. Presented at the New Audience Practices.
Vancouver
1.
Van Damme K, Courtois C, De Marez L. Measuring “over-the-top” audiences: on the potential of alternative measurement techniques. New Audience Practices, Abstracts. 2014.
MLA
Van Damme, Kristin, Cédric Courtois, and Lieven De Marez. “Measuring ‘Over-the-top’ Audiences: On the Potential of Alternative Measurement Techniques.” New Audience Practices, Abstracts. 2014. Print.
@inproceedings{4401883,
  abstract     = {In hindsight, audiences{\textquoteright} viewing practices have radically changed in the past decades. Through gradual technological innovation, television viewers are increasingly empowered to access a variety of delivery channels (e.g. over-the-top television, video-on-demand services), in a multitude of environments. This accumulated audience autonomy obscures and pressures the traditional conception of television as a unified mass medium, in favour of abundant personalized features (Courtois, Verdegem, \& De Marez, 2013; Napoli, 2010). This presentation first elaborates on this inherent fragmentation, which poses significant challenges for various stakeholders, ranging from academia to media professionals. Nonetheless, the necessity remains apparent. Public service broadcasters are accountable for honoring their license agreements (audience-as-public), and commercial broadcasters more than ever to prove that their products are viewed by specific consumer profiles, so to avoid tensions with advertisers (audience-as-market; Ang, 1991). Second, we present the results derived from a research project on alternative measurement techniques. More specifically, a panel of 21 households had a traditional audiometric measurement system installed, and/or were handed a free account for an over-the-top television service. The latter service enabled the supplementary collection of elaborate log data of views. Hence, two types of viewing data were collected. In the presented analysis, we elaborate on the supplementary nature of these two streams of data, matching them with qualitative accounts on viewing practices and measurement awareness, derived from in-depth interviews. We conclude that despite evident problems, such an approach might prove valuable in partially closing the gap between traditional living room-centered measures and alternative viewing patterns.},
  author       = {Van Damme, Kristin and Courtois, C{\'e}dric and De Marez, Lieven},
  booktitle    = {New Audience Practices, Abstracts},
  language     = {eng},
  location     = {Lisbon, Portugal},
  title        = {Measuring 'over-the-top' audiences: on the potential of alternative measurement techniques},
  year         = {2014},
}