Frequently asked questions

What is the VPM Report?

OzTAM’s VPM Report was introduced in February 2016 and is separate and complementary to OzTAM TV ratings. The VPM Report captures minute-by-minute data on participating broadcasters’ online TV content ('BVOD') played on-demand (catch up) or live-streamed to connected devices such as tablets, smartphones, smart TVs, PCs/laptops and games consoles.

What does OzTAM’s VPM Report include?
OzTAM is capturing 100 per cent of TV player data from participating broadcasters' players that are integrated with our system. OzTAM currently publishes daily rolling 7-day and 28-day catch up reports on the OzTAM website covering the previous 7 and 28 days of catch up VPM activity. OzTAM also publishes a weekly report capturing the top live-streamed programs each week (preceding Saturday-Sunday). In addition, broadcasters receive their own data for their respective reporting purposes.

Which broadcasters are participating?
Since launching in 2016: ABC, Seven Network, Nine Network, Network 10, SBS and Foxtel.

Would you include subscription on demand (SVOD) providers or online video service providers such as YouTube?
OzTAM's VPM collection service is technically capable of handling SVOD or any other online video service. It would be up to the provider whether they wanted to participate in the OzTAM VPM Report. Unlike the TV ratings system, which works on audio matching, VPM reporting relies on video service provider cooperation, and not all are ready or even wish to have their viewing data reported.

Is broadcasters' VPM content played or streamed live from third party platforms available in the VPM Report?
VPM viewing isn't broken out by technology or delivery platform. Any viewing on third party platforms is aggregated back to the broadcaster's VPM figures.

How does OzTAM know what is being played, how many devices are playing video, etc?

A unique media identifier (ID) is attached to every piece of content within a participating broadcaster’s TV video player library. This allows OzTAM to correctly attribute every minute of online live or on-demand (catch up) BVOD content played on individual connected devices, whatever those devices are (e.g. smart TV, smartphone, tablet, desktop/laptop, games console), the platform or operating system used (e.g. Android, iOS, web) and wherever those devices may be.

Do OzTAM TV ratings currently capture any video player data?
Yes, so long as the content played is a) identical to that which was broadcast within the past 28 days - including programming, break structures and advertising or promotional content - and b) is played back through the television set, it will also be captured in OzTAM TV ratings (the VPM Report and OzTAM TV ratings are currently separate databases, though will be brought together in the forthcoming Total TV reporting standard, Virtual Australia (or 'VOZ').

How does OzTAM derive top programs in the VPM Report?
A program's ranking is determined by its VPM rating, which is the total minutes played divided by content length and rounded to the nearest thousand. This is similar to the way TV ratings are calculated: for example, average program audience thousands. It's important to remember though that TV ratings are audience estimates of individual people's viewing, while VPM ratings are for devices. OzTAM's VPM service then allocates this BVOD viewing to an agreed demographic profile.

How does OzTAM provide demographic profiles in the VPM Report?
OzTAM's model assigns a demographic profile to the audience viewing a piece of VPM content (BVOD) using a combination of inputs, including: 
  • panel-based measurement of household members' viewing across devices; 
  • total device viewing information (VPM census data); 
  • the repertoire of programs watched on a particular device over time; and,
  • insights derived from the audience profile to the corresponding broadcast program (i.e., OzTAM TV ratings).
User data is fully anonymised, and OzTAM collects no information that could identify the person(s) that owns or uses individual devices. 

What is the daily cycle for VPM reporting?

For catch up: each cycle is midnight to midnight, Sydney time.
For live-streaming: 2am-2am local market time.

Is there a minimum program length to be included in the VPM Report?
Every minute of participating broadcasters' live-streamed or catch up player activity counts towards overall minutes reported. To be included in the VPM Report top programs however a program must be at least 15 minutes in duration.

What does ‘census level’ mean, and how is it different to TV ratings?
Census level means we are capturing the entire universe of content delivered by participating broadcasters’ video players that are integrated with OzTAM’s system. In this way, OzTAM can capture overall BVOD played on connected devices. OzTAM's VPM reporting service then allocates this viewing to an agreed demographic profile.

OzTAM’s in-home TV audience measurement panels comprise households that collectively represent the characteristics of the overall population. This allows us to provide detailed estimates of who is viewing broadcast TV (free-to-air and subscription television channels) on TV sets.

In brief:
  • OzTAM’s VPM service captures all viewing of participating broadcasters’ video player content on connected devices, and OzTAM then allocates this viewing to an agreed demographic profile.
  • OzTAM TV ratings estimate viewing by individual people within a panel of homes that represents the overall population.
Can OzTAM tell if catch up VPM content is watched live (simultaneously with the TV broadcast) rather than played later?
OzTAM can tell the time that the catch up viewing takes place. If it is a broadcast event we can see it is being watched at the time of the live broadcast (simulcast).

Should people using the broadcasters’ video player services be concerned for their privacy?
We only know that a device is playing content from a participating broadcaster’s video player service. At no point does OzTAM monitor anything other than when the connected device is accessing a network app or browser-based video server. OzTAM is not able to identify the user of the device.

Why are you only measuring VPM catch up program content, not ads?
Ad minutes are captured in 'total minutes' at the top of the rolling catch up VPM reports.

Ad minutes however are not included in the individual program VPM ratings because:
  • Video play break structures and advertising content can differ from the broadcast. The ad(s) on the catch up TV service can also vary by device.
  • Devices can be located around Australia (and even overseas) – so the video play figures can’t be neatly allocated back to the metro or regional broadcaster.
If live-streamed programs are identical to the TV broadcast, VPM also captures advertising content.

Do you know how many minutes of the ads in VPM catch up programs are viewed?
We know the number of advertising minutes played, and these are included in 'total minutes' at the top of the VPM catch up reports. Although we can see when an ad break starts and ends, we don’t know the advertising content in individual catch up programs, which can vary depending on the device playing the content.

What does 'stream starts' mean?
Stream starts is the total number of requests to play an online program in which the viewing lasts 15 seconds or longer.

How do stream starts and VPM ratings compare?
Stream starts represents the total number of times the program video content began to play lasting at least 15 seconds; this count provides a device reach–like number. VPM ratings are the average number of connected devices playing the content in any one minute across the program’s duration. For that reason, the length of a stream start does not affect the program's VPM rating.

Why is there a 15-second threshold to count as a stream start?
15 seconds aligns with the broadcast measurement threshold and reflects the fact that online broadcast video is premium content which enjoys high viewer engagement rates. The 15-second standard reinforces the Australian television industry's commitment to a measurement metric whereby to 'count' the content must be of sufficient duration to capture the consumer's attention.

How much incremental reach are the broadcasters’ catch up services providing?

OzTAM, Nielsen and Regional TAM are working towards the roll out of an integrated Total TV database, Virtual Australia (or 'VOZ'), which will allow data subscribers to determine the incremental reach from viewing on connected devices.

What happens if a viewer scrubs forward or backward while viewing a catch up program?
The VPM Report captures all the viewing activity even when users scrub forwards or backwards. As is the case with OzTAM’s time-shift TV viewing service, only time spent playing online content at normal speed is reflected in the VPM Report.

Can I add a program's VPM rating to its TV average audience to get an overall figure?
The calculation of a VPM rating is in line with how an average audience for TV is calculated however the two are derived through different measurement methodologies:
  • OzTAM TV ratings are estimates of people watching the broadcast, broken down in a variety of demographics, in both the five mainland capital cities and nationally in subscription television homes.
  • OzTAM’s VPM Report measures the connected devices playing on-demand content, and those devices may be located anywhere in Australia. OzTAM's VPM service then allocates that viewing to an agreed demographic profile.
OzTAM recognises that some data users wish to see how VPM data relates back to the total audience for a piece of content across all platforms.

Given the different current methodologies and coverage areas for TAM and VPM, users wishing to combine the data should follow these protocols:
  • VPM data may be added to the audience for an individual program episode (or series average) using either:
  • an OzTAM Total People average audience figure or a specific demographic audience figure, OR
  • a combined OzTAM and Regional TAM Total People or specific demographic average audience figure
  • Combination can be made at the individual program episode level, or VPM catch up data over the course of a series can be averaged such that the VPM average can be reported alongside the broadcast average - in which case the time periods must be identical and made clear.

  • TAM data can be combined with either VPM live or catch up data, or both.
  • Reach or frequency estimates may not be combined with VPM data (however, OzTAM will soon be able to estimate co-viewing and unduplicated reach).

  • TV data must be clearly sourced 'OzTAM five-city metro' or 'OzTAM and Regional TAM combined' and VPM data similarly appropriately sourced.

  • The coverage period of each source must be clearly stated.
Adherence to these protocols will ensure what's being reported is clear, consistent and accountable.

Can the VPM rating for a live-streamed program be added to the corresponding audience on TV?
Yes, following the guidelines above. And because live VPM programs mirror the television reporting structure, and are coded the same way networks code the corresponding television broadcasts, comparisons for live-streaming are relatively straightforward compared to catch up VPM viewing.

How does the amount of time viewing online on-demand content compare to broadcast TV?
OzTAM's VPM reporting service typically collects, on average, around 80-120 million minutes of participating broadcasters' BVOD content a day, with approximately 30 per cent live-streamed and 70 per cent BVOD catch up. Over the same 24-hour period, Australians typically watch around 3.5 to 4 billion minutes of broadcast TV content through their television sets. 

The steady growth in BVOD viewing means it now accounts for approximately 4 per cent of TV content consumed. Many programs now attract a sizable portion of their overall audiences via BVOD, similar to the way in which certain shows substantially build on their Overnight TV ratings through time-shifted viewing.

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