Ratings data from Malaysian TV measurement service DTAM, backed by pay-TV major Astro, has gone on sale and at least one big media buyer, GroupM, has subscribed.
The launch, following a six-month free trial last year, highlights hitherto unseen viewing behavior across more than a hundred pay-TV channels, making it easier for marketers to identify relevant demographics in a fragmenting media landscape.
HD offerings across all languages are first in line to benefit. The data shows some HD audiences doubling or tripling in size – still relatively small during off-peak viewing but enough to make a difference to advertisers during primetime.
“You’re discovering certain HD channels that have tremendous reach among certain segments of the audience,” notes Girish Menon, CEO of GroupM Malaysia.
“Those are things we just did not know before the data came to us.”
Initially, DTAM data is likely to redistribute pay-TV spend across a broader spread of channels, rather than significantly boost pay-TV’s share of ad spend, Menon suggests.
In time, it will also help agencies evaluate different dayparts and even ad breaks to fine-tune media plans – changes that Menon feels will deliver even greater value to advertisers.
At the same time, a clearer picture of viewing promises to reset the competitive dynamics for online video, which has started taking a meaningful share of TV budgets over the past two years.
“The belief was online video allows us to target audiences very specifically,” Menon says.
“What DTAM now allows us to do is target those audiences equally effectively in television,” he adds.
There is a downside to this extra insight however.
DTAM subscribers now have to crunch through two sets of TVs viewing data: the incumbent offering from Nielsen, essential for brands targeting mass audiences, and DTAM’s more indepth look at Astro homes, which represent more than half of Malaysian households.
Media agencies, facing extra costs and additional work, would prefer a single set of numbers.
Any changes to the status quo, however, would need the backing of Malaysia’s biggest broadcasters, primarily Astro and free-to-air players Media Prima and RTM, who collectively pay the lion’s share of TV measurement funding.
Industry agreement will take time, resulting in dual currencies for 2016 media plans at least.
Meanwhile, both Kantar and Nielsen are also rolling out new add-ons to their media research offerings, to help advertisers better understand potential returns from their marketing spend.
“The primary goal is to have a single source currency,” Menon says.
“The current situation where we have to subscribe to two different service providers, have different sources of data, different reach curves, is not ideal,” he adds. “But it is where we are at the moment.”