OzTAM time-shift locks on 7 days

watching_tvFrom December 27th OzTAM begins its Time Shift Viewing (TSV) service for television ratings.

OzTAM has now confirmed this will track playback of television broadcast content up to seven days from actual transmission time in panel homes.

TSV will apply to PVRs, DVRs and VCRs.

OzTAM CEO Kate Inglis-Clark said: “The inclusion of up to seven days playback has been established through extensive stakeholder consultation over many months to ensure OzTAM’s Time Shift Viewing service best meets the needs of industry.

“Seven days is consistent with international best practice and will provide flexible and comprehensive TSV data to our clients.”

OzTAM will measure the actual viewing of recorded television content, not what is being recorded or what has been recorded via a ‘state of the art’ metering solution called UNITAM. Only recorded material played back at standard speed will be recognised.

This will mean significant changes to Australian television ratings. Morning figures will tally overnight ratings for the previous day (Live + As Live). As Live is playback within the same viewing day (2am – 2am).

An afternoon ratings release will include consolidated figures for same day last week (which includes Time Shift up to the last seven days).

The next question is how will this alter our yardstick of ratings success? Will 1.5m still be considered a strong ratings result for a show the next morning?

The answer is yes.

OzTAM says that morning ratings will still form the crux of a show’s performance as an instant snapshot. Where TSV figures will provide context is in looking at shows historically. Annual figures would need to reflect TSV.

TSV is also likely to be good news for shows that compete against live events, are on digital channels or outside of primetime. They may well find another audience is watching them at a time that suits them better.

It will certainly be better having more detail on not just what we’re watching, but how we’re watching.


  1. For those asking about if the show will still be counted if the ads are fast forwarded on PVR’s, the information sheet about this on the OzTAM website advises

    Q:Will it be possible to measure the % of commercials being ‘skipped’during playback?

    A: OzTAM will measure and report the viewing of time shift television content in standard (normal) speed playback only. OzTAM has always measured and reported minute by minute viewing.

    So I believe it will still report those shows where people are fast forwarding but the shows will be reporting big drop offs of viewers when the ads are on. But in the end I don’t think this should affect the “average audience” figure for these shows.

  2. @ Paull. I am guessing the device is smart enough to measure people fast forwarding through ads verses people fast forwarding through content. OZTAM knows people with DVRs fast forward commercials most of the time (though beleive it or not research shows not all of the time!)

    I’m guessing the device will only count the show as “watched” or as a viewer/s if at least 40 minutes of an hour show is actually watched on PLAY not fast forward. That would account for 20 minutes of commercials, opening titles and credits.

  3. What sort of information is available as to the mix of supposed population of Australia?

    I mean do they go as far as to split it down to old/young, male/female, gay/straight, australian/indian/asian/irish etc etc, NSW/VIC/QLD etc, Rich/Poor.

    How far do they drill down into the demographics to get an equal representation?

    I’m not asking as to cast doubt over it as i believe it would be very difficult to drill down too specific but just wondered how far they do go down.

  4. Belinda – it means that they’re implementing practices to stop people from recording a program and then zipping through it on fast forward in order to bump up the ratings. Just as they can’t stop people from leaving the room when the ads are on during a “live” airing, they can’t stop people from forwarding through the ads in a recorded version of the show. They’ll also have to account for the fact that people will stop the recording, rewind it if they miss something, watch half of it and then come back later etc. etc. All of that will be covered by the new technology.

  5. This will be interesting when it starts. It’ll be good to know we’re one step closer to getting more acurate info, but does it only count certain types of recording equipment, or is it everything?

  6. If standard speed does mean playback with no fast-forwarding then this time shift ratings feature will be useless. I don’t know anyone who watches a taped show without fast forwarding.

  7. “Only recorded material played back at standard speed will be recognised.”

    Doesn’t that indicate that ad skipping and fast forwarding, will not be included in the results?

  8. @ Guy. As I said the OZTAM panel of 5000 homes has to represent Australia. So if 20% of Australian homes are single person homes, 20% of OZTAM boxes are in single person homes. If 31% of Australian homes have a DVR, then 31% of OZTAM homes will be DVR homes. They re-evaluate every 6 months or so to make sure the sample of 5000 homes is an accurate snapshot of Australia.

    So that should mean that 1500 of the 5000 OZTAM homes will now be in DVR homes.

    @ Nathan B. As far as I know OZTAM will still be counting those who fast forward through the ads. And advertisers will still pay rates based on “live + as live”. This will boost revenue for the networks, as the ratings will now show more people watching shows. I doubt the networks will be able to convince advertisers to pay rates based on “Live + 7 days” though.

    In the US, advertisers pay based on “Live + 3 days”

  9. If they don’t count those who fast forward through the ads in time-shift then the ratings will probably be insignificant. People are smart and they’re usually the people who make use of what their PVRs can do, I certainly do.

    Also just say if 700,000 people only watched a TV show but the other 300,000 were time shifting does that mean that networks will be waiting a week before canning it rather than the next day?

  10. “TSV will apply to PVRs, DVRs and VCRs”, could someone explain to me what this means, does it mean anyone with a PVR/IQ and any VCR even the ones from 10years ago will send rating data back?, or is this a select amount of people who will only have these boxes, also is this just FTA or does it also include foxtel?

  11. @ Bindi.

    The sample is always meant to represent the Australian population. So if 30% of Australian homes have a DVR, then 30% of OZTAM’s sample homes will be DVR homes.

  12. I have to agree with bindi here. How many of the homes with OzTam boxes actually have a DVR, PVR etc to start with. I mean if not many of the boxes do then the ratings wont change much at all.

    However its great that its finally here. It should have been here a couple of years ago. All we need now is the 2nd and soon 3rd digital channels not be included in the figures of all stations.

  13. Long over due move but I guess the only down side is it will take longer for the final figures come though. Guess it will also show networks if people are recording their show and thus it could be moved without affecting viewers too much?

  14. This is great news. For both ratings fanatics like us and the networks. This new system recognises that about 30% of Australian homes now have DVRs and measuring ratings only by “live” viewing is outdated and inaccurate. Right now many shows ratings are reported much lower than they really are.

    This is likely to be great news for younger skewing nets like Ten and Go! In the US the most heavily DVR’d shows are the younger skewing shows, as the younger generations are more tech savvy.

    Shows like Glee, Rove, Vampire Dairies, MasterChef and Family Guy are likely to see big bumps in their numbers. For example, in the US, “Dollhouse” on Fox sees it’s numbers jump by 22% when same day (“as live”) numbers are included. And a massive 68% when 7 Day viewing is included. So in Australia, with say Glee, you could see it’s numbers go from about 1 million now to 1.2 million. And when 7 day ratings are used, 1.68 million. Ten will love that. All the networks will!

    Likewise I would think that cable channels will see big bumps in their numbers, as I think about 60% of Austar & Foxtel subscribers now have DVRs. I guess this means the numbers we will every morning will inclide live viewing and “as live” up to 2am the following day.

  15. wonder what percentage of those providing ratings measurements actually have the ability to timeshift, and what percentage of those have the ability to timeshift digital only shows. you would think something like the vampire diaries would do well with this because it is up against flash forward so people might be timeshifting it, but some people may only have the ability to watch digital live, so it may not get the boost it would in somewhere like america where they all have tivo’s and digital.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.