Unraveling the Mystery of Media Consumption
Making sense of the way we consume media in a rapidly changing world requires a tremendous amount of data. Media companies use this data to inform and feed into their media planning and trading platforms and depend on sophisticated audience data to fully grasp what Canadians watch and listen to on all of the platforms available in the ever-changing media landscape.
Media companies are in the business of programming and selling advertising, so understanding the who, what, where, when, and how people consume the content they create is the name of the game. Since 1944, the firm we now know as Numeris reported audience data for linear radios or radio stations and linear television. With the introduction of passive measurement utilizing a portable meter in the first decade of the 2000s, Numeris started to report live radio and television audiences on all screens or devices – which in today’s environment seems downright arcane.
The number of ways to consume media has exploded alongside the technology used to create and analyze it, and as a result, today’s media landscape is extremely fragmented. Numeris examines the viewing and listening habits representing the Canadian population, roughly 40 million Canadians, on the many platforms that are available today.
Numeris is a nonprofit, audience data organization that operates by and for the Canadian media industry. NLogic, the company’s software subsidiary, develops and delivers innovative cross-platform analysis tools, including industry first APIs, media trading platforms, and data integration systems. Both Numeris and NLogic are fully compliant with Canadian privacy and data protection laws.
“If you're in the business of providing services, content, entertainment, news, sports, and short form video to Canadians, you’re putting your money towards creating and monetizing this content. You really want to understand the entire landscape: How do they consume media and where do they consume media? What devices, demographics, and geographies, and on and on,” said Neil McEneaney, the company’s president and CEO. Speed, efficiency, and conscious transparency are essential for the nonprofit, as is trust. “We operate and are run by the industry, so collaboration through trust is huge,” he stressed.
The firm’s first iteration of its cross-platform video measurement solution, VAM (video audience measurement), captures audience behaviors around digital video and linear television. Numeris’ clients need to see audience behavior from all video platforms, including broadcast television, cable, streaming services and video on demand. They also analyze behaviors on the consumption of social media video services such as TikTok, Facebook Video, or Instagram Reels.
“VAM compares the value of the client’s investment in linear and digital video and identifies what consumers are doing, what their video journey is, and what the trends are,” he said. Numeris reports monthly data by program and platform, duplicated and unduplicated for an accurate comparison of consumption habits. VAM was originally launched to measure activity in Ontario and French Quebec and is now being broadened across the nation.
Numeris uses sophisticated data tracking and measurement technologies to holistically measure behavior utilizing a panel of over 11,000 people selected to represent the Canadian population, balanced and representative by age, gender, geography, income, and many other variables. Panelists carry a portable people meter that measures all of live radio listening on all devices, live TV viewing on all screens, as well as 28 days of catch-up television viewing made on PVR.
At home, Numeris provides focal meters for the panelists to capture their digital video consumption. Numeris obtains full consent and discloses the media sites and applications they are examining. The very detailed and specific data captures the video viewing habits starting at age 2. “We capture at the program level, the ad break level, at the provincial and major markets level and at the national level, in and out of home,” McEneaney said. “We really want to understand how Canadians use media in a holistic way.”
The highly skilled talent required to get that knowledge includes experts in data science, research, data analytics, software engineering, and automation, as well as specialists in privacy and information security.
The pandemic accelerated the need for changes sought by clients of the JIC. Prior to the crisis, advertisers had been advocating for more data, better consistency of data, and more standards. “The advertisers were applying pressure not just in Canada and the U.S., but globally around stronger measurement,” he explained. “With even more fragmentation and changes, the behavioral changes coming through the pandemic, that need for more data, more standardization, more collaboration, and better measurement has been much louder. That's a significant impact to the industry.”
Working with massive amounts of data requires robust infrastructure. When the company was developing its cross-platform strategy, Numeris realized that the existing infrastructure needed an overhaul to handle the increasing volumes of information. McEneaney reported that to date, the company has increased their data capacity 100-fold and increased the systems they use to manage and process the data by 10 times in the last few years.
To support expansion, the firm moved to a cloud strategy on the AWS platform and partnered with multi-cloud service provider OpsGuru. “OpsGuru guided us in our journey in migrating to the cloud because that was new for us,” he noted. “We had an on-premise server-based infrastructure and it just couldn't accommodate our needs. That was a big, big change.”
Numeris consistently implements new technology to efficiently manage the massive volumes of data they collect from their panelists every day. Data science, modeling techniques, and algorithms are applied, and that data and analysis is delivered daily, weekly, or monthly, depending on their client’s needs. Of course, every scrap of data must be incorruptible.
“We are fortunate to be working with the media industry and making a difference in the media space. We have that industry collaboration and ability to work with great partners and employees that are able to grow and learn. When you put together the power of an industry that supports you and talent that’s allowed to be great you make a difference.”
Numeris is a leading audience data company curating data and insights that makes sense of media behaviors in a cross-platform, cross-media world. Fully compliant with Canadian privacy and data protection laws, Numeris uses sophisticated data tracking and measurement technologies to holistically measure linear and digital consumption. As a not-for-profit Joint Industry Committee (JIC), and by and for the Canadian media industry, Numeris leads the development and delivery of transparent and standardized audience data solutions that answer local needs while being aligned to global standards.
Visit our website to learn more about what we do and the solutions we provide: https://numeris.ca/about-us/
1500 Don Mills Road, 3rd Floor
North York, ON M3B 3L7
Phone Number: 416.445.9800
Homepage Link: https://numeris.ca/