OzTAM is the official source of television audience measurement (TAM) covering Australia’s five mainland metropolitan markets (Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane, Adelaide and Perth) and nationally for subscription television. OzTAM owns and holds the copyright for the television audience data it delivers.
OzTAM ratings are the accepted metric by which Australian television is evaluated.
The media industry uses OzTAM data to help understand viewer behaviour, assist in program development and advertising planning, and measure the performance of television programs, networks and advertising campaigns.
OzTAM's in-home TV audience panels provide minute-by-minute viewing data – 24 hours per day, seven days a week, 365 days each year – for more than 100 channels (free-to-air and subscription) across dozens of demographic variables. Nielsen TAM is OzTAM’s ratings service provider.
OzTAM's Video Player Measurement (VPM) Report, launched in February 2016, provides Australia's first official figures for viewing of internet-delivered TV content.
OzTAM Pty Limited is an independent company owned by Australia’s major commercial television broadcasters (the Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten). OzTAM operates separately and independently from all broadcasters and has an independent, non-executive chairman. OzTAM also has an external technical auditor whose role is to ensure OzTAM's panels perform to specification.
The ABC and SBS television networks, Media Federation of Australia (MFA), Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA) and Australian Subscription Television & Radio Association (ASTRA) have observer status at OzTAM board meetings.
OzTAM was established in 1999 to take on the management and marketing of television audience ratings in Australia’s five mainland capital cities from the start of the 2001 ratings year, when the contract with the previous ratings service provider, AC Nielsen, concluded.
OzTAM’s three shareholders – the Seven Network, Nine Network and Network Ten – put a new seven-year ratings contract (that would span 2001-2007) to international tender. It was won by ATR Australia, a subsidiary of the Italy-based AGB Group.
The ensuing OzTAM panel, based on 3,000 homes equipped with people meters in the metro markets (which was an increase of 425 homes on the previous service), began supplying data to OzTAM on 1 January, 2001. A further 35 homes were added to the metro panel in 2004, and another 465 in 2012, taking it to 3,500 homes.
Upon launching OzTAM reported ratings for five free-to-air (FTA) channels: ABC, SBS, Seven, Nine and Ten.
Since that time OzTAM’s service has steadily expanded to reflect the evolving television landscape, new technologies and changing nature of audience behaviour.
In April 2003, OzTAM contracted ATR Australia to provide TAM services for the National Subscription Television (STV) service and Australian STV channel ratings data became available in August of that year. (Following Nielsen’s acquisition of AGB, OzTAM’s ratings service provider was renamed Nielsen TAM.)
With more than 3,500 metro panel homes and more than 1,413 homes in the national STV service, OzTAM’s sample is among the world’s largest relative to the population represented. In 2017 OzTAM's panels are expanding by 50 per cent, which will take the metro panel to 5,250 homes and its STV panel to 2,120. With Regional TAM also expanding its own panel, in 2017 Australia will be the world's largest per capita people metered market.
OzTAM began measuring digital terrestrial television (DTT) in 2005 and began reporting the free-to-air broadcasters' DTT-only channels from 2008, when they introduced unique content.
OzTAM now measures and reports viewing to more than 100 channels, both FTA and STV.
At the start of the 2010 ratings year, OzTAM introduced its Time Shift Viewing (TSV) service, recognising the increasing use of personal video recorders (PVRs). This was the most significant change to Australian television audience measurement since people meters were introduced in 1991. OzTAM’s TSV service measures and reports viewing of broadcast television content that is played back through the television set within 28 days of the original broadcast in addition to live viewing of broadcasts.
In February 2016 OzTAM introduced its Video Player Measurement (VPM) reporting service, which is separate and complementary to OzTAM TV ratings. OzTAM's VPM service captures minute-by-minute data on participating broadcasters' TV content played to connected devices such as tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, games consoles and PCs/laptops.