VOZ is targeting 2024 as the year that it finally becomes Australia’s official Total TV currency but media agencies are reporting that few if any are currently using it for anything beyond planning purposes.

The move to using the platform as trading currency isn’t expected until later this year but many of the challenges around implementing VOZ that were raised as roadblocks by media agencies AdNews spoke to last year are problems they say still need to be tackled before they will transfer away from using OzTAM data.

For more than 18 months, OzTAM has been working with the Media Federation of Australia to incorporate media agency needs in the construction and deployment of VOZ and the software required to utilise VOZ data.

“It’s going to be a lengthy journey”

daniel-cutrone.jpg

Daniel Cutrone (pictured right), managing partner at Avenue C, is keeping an eye on both measurement systems of OzTAM and VOZ.

“From an audience perspective we are closely reviewing the impact of both linear and digital video to understand the individual and combined reach potentials (via VOZ),” he says.

“OzTAM data is still the currency of choice for TV audience delivery, and an adserver and other measurement technologies keep our partners accountable across digital video.

“It feels like 2025 is more likely than a mid-year roll-out, as all industry systems need to be onboarded across every single market, but we are staying extremely close and ready if this lands sooner.”

Lorraine Woods, head of national trading at Atomic 212°, says that in order to trade against VOZ there needs to be a switchover from currencies as the agency currently trades against TAM data.

“We have the tools available to plan, evaluate and report on VOZ data which we use in our planning and evaluation process,” she tells AdNews.

“In regard to the use of VOZ data, it is still quite basic; however, it was a huge step to get to this place and we will only continue to see more sophistication in this space via our TPSS.”

Justin Arlt, national head of marketplace trading at Wavemaker, echoed those sentiments, saying that until gold standard accreditation is achieved, Wavemaker will continue to use TAM as its trading currency.

“Given the scope and complexity of the transition, in addition to the myriad of stakeholders who will need to be consulted, it’s going to be a lengthy journey,” he says.

Jane Combes, national head of strategic investment and partnerships at OMD, says that as “the largest buyer of television in Australia”, the agency aims to have every client testing and using this data on a campaign basis when the data is available within the planning and buying tools, taking the industry a step to VOZ being the trading currency of choice.

“At the moment, we are using the information at hand to inform insights, rather than for reporting,” she says.

AdNews has contacted OzTAM, who is implementing VOZ, for comment on this story.

Deeper insight into total video audience habits

At the end of January, OzTAM introduced two new daily VOZ website reports that provide Total TV Overnight and seven-day reach totals, further to the existing top program rankings. These reports replaced the former VOZ website daily and weekly program ranking reports.

OzTAM says the enhanced VOZ website reports “offer a clearer picture of the audience consuming broadcaster content across all platforms and devices on a daily and weekly basis and highlight the continued growth of BVOD viewing”.

Lorraine Woods

Asked how effective these new daily VOZ reports are for media agencies, Woods (pictured right) at Atomic 212°says that the way the networks are reporting is a much more impactful representation of total TV’s true audience reach.

“In the past through previous reporting and measurement we have discounted this,” she tells AdNews.

“The reporting on total reach does not provide us transactional value but does provide deeper insight into total video audience habits.”

Arlt at Wavemaker says that while the daily VOZ reports give an understanding of the highest possible reach on a program and the method of viewing composition, they’re less relevant in helping gauge the approximate audience that is likely to be delivered on a campaign, especially when the agency is unable to drill down geographically.

“Understandably, both agencies and clients are more focused on likely delivery rather than the potential audience available,” he says.

OMD’s Combes says that the usefulness of the daily website report comes from the discernment of the data as opposed to the data itself as agencies already know both that scale in screens and mass reach is important as well as the role BVOD plays in driving those.

“Being able to view the delineation between linear vs BVOD at the programming level is interesting, as is understanding the scale of incrementality by genre/network/program type and title; however, interrogating and formulating insights from that information and applying it to planning and buying principles is crucial,” she says.

“There are so many factors that play into planning now such as engagement, environment and attention. The more data we have, the better, but it needs to be considered as one piece of the puzzle in targeting audiences, to drive effective outcomes for clients.”

Cutrone at Avenue C says that although marketers can now for the first time have a better understanding of total television consumption and the entire reach potential of individual programs – whether consumed on linear TV, live streaming or video-on-demand – VOZ is utilising a different metric from what has been available in the past, moving from “average audience” to “cumulative reach”.

“This is something that both agencies and marketers will need to navigate as there are nuances between both metrics, which often leaves audience ratings over-inflated,” he says.

Reach is defined as the sum of unique (individual) viewers who have watched at least one minute of a program or daypart on broadcast TV (or 15 seconds on BVOD) across its total duration.

Reach differs to audience, which is the sum of all individuals watching each minute of a program/daypart divided by the duration of the program/daypart to give an average minute audience across the duration of the event being analysed.

Changing timelines and methodologies present problems

Jane Combes.

Combes (pictured right) tells AdNews that VOZ not including all the major players in the connected TV ecosystem, alongside the advertising-based options to capture audiences through screens continuing to accelerate in 2024, means that the data will need to be viewed in conjunction with complementary information as part of a total screens’ strategy.

“Another limitation comes when reviewing regional television – while rarely talked about, some of the data that agencies have become accustomed to receiving and reporting on may not readily be available,” she says.

“The market level granularity we provide to our clients now may not be available to the same level – which will require a re-education and an assessment of its magnitude at a client-by-client level.

“The sophistication in capability, ongoing engagement with the networks and OzTam, as well as continued evolution, will be key as uptake becomes more prevalent.”

Cutrone says networks are already in-market selling audiences within a converged ecosystem, which promises to deduplicate audiences across platform to maximise their reach potential, ultimately allowing advertisers to pay for exclusive audiences.

“Despite the ability to buy in this way, the main challenges for our business are the combined audience methodology, the lack of automation which is stifling uptake and sales teams having different levels of VOZ uptake,” he says.

Woods says that the changing industry-wide timeline for the full buying transition to VOZ is a challenge, plus some buying demos previously available not transitioning to VOZ is likely to impact some advertisers.

“Foxtel, of course, has broken away to create an alternative to VOZ, which will lead to further fragmentation in how we will plan, buy and report in the future,” she says.

At the Foxtel Upfronts last year, the broadcaster unveiled a partnership with US-based media measurement and optimisation software company VideoAmp to develop a measurement system to accurately capture viewing data from across Foxtel services, a move that OzTAM said “poses the risk of confusion in the market”.

Wavemaker’s Arlt says that education is going to be crucial in ensuring a successful roll-out of VOZ, especially when it comes to clearing up market confusion around the difference between Total TV reach and Total TV audience.

“We also need to be mindful of how this will impact pricing structures and subsequent negotiations,” he says.

“In addition to pricing, the changes in how audiences are collected are also going to make historical comparisons difficult, if not redundant, which creates further complexity in analysis.”

Arlt says that the biggest challenge for VOZ from his perspective is that while the system has been undergoing development, the premium video landscape has also been developing at a fast pace.

“With more SVOD players launching ad tiers, YouTube continuing to see huge growth across CTV and FAST channels becoming more prevalent, VOZ’s current scope isn’t reflective of the broader video market,” he says.

“True cross-screen planning is essential to maximising client value, which is why Wavemaker leverages Architect – our AI powered end-to-end planning tool – when developing and optimising screens strategies to ensure the most efficient, and most effective combination of video partners are on the plan.”

VOZ as a value enabler

For all its potential challenges in implementation and delays in rollout, there is optimism regarding what VOZ can do once it fully comes into effect, such as being able to accurately represent the opportunity of reach, either combined across screens or platforms, as well as enabling agencies to apply smarter optimal allocation of investment across total video platforms, according to Atomic 212’s Woods.

justin-arlt.jpeg

Arlt (pictured right) says that as it’s important that measurement evolves along with the market to deliver what agencies and clients need, VOZ is an important step towards delivering a much clearer picture of viewing on all screen types.

“Right now, the lack of granularity on reporting creates a challenge when trying to apply the information to a planning approach or buying strategy, but I expect this will change once the product and all relevant third-party suppliers reach 100% operational status,” he says.

Combes says that OMD is a “massive supporter” of VOZ and the potential benefit it offers, with the hope that when it is fully operational and utilised in market, it could fundamentally change the agency’s capabilities and the way it trades, essentially allowing them to link linear and connected television audiences across networks.

“The granularity of data involved with linear television is exceptional – and shouldn’t be forgotten,” she tells AdNews.

“We buy at an individual spot level rather than run of network, interrogating an enormous amount of information. Television is the most granular of any channel, and we are adding another channel on top of that.

“Pulling this together is a huge under-taking. Our aim is to make that new information available to all agency staff, across all markets, for all clients to take advantage of, but that is no small feat, and we are taking the time to get it right.”

As a result, she says OMD is investing heavily in the tools, the education and the process to ensure the agency can accurately identify and deliver value-based outcomes and clear benefits back to its clients.

“Ultimately, we need to ensure we have the collective input of our entire national investment team, to ensure optimal output for all,” Combes says.

“We see VOZ as a value enabler. It will enable and empower client level value delivery.”

Avenue C’s Cutrone says one of the key benefits VOZ will bring is in marketers being able to see the influence of their linear TV and BVOD campaigns against single source audience metrics, meaning that agencies and marketers will have a better understanding of viewing behaviour and marketing opportunities within each platform.

“It allows for better strategic planning, and emphasis on each total TV platform,” he says.

“Despite its benefits, relying on only one metric is dangerous. At Avenue C, we believe that audience metrics are a means to an end – ultimately, business results become the major decision maker in campaign successes.”

Article originally published on AdNews.


READ OUR LATEST

POINT OF VIEW

DOWNLOAD

RELATED NEWS