OzTAM answers your ratings questions


OzTAM CEO Doug Peiffer has answered a selection of questions recently submitted by readers of TV Tonight.

My thanks to Doug and readers for participating in this Q&A.

How are people with meters chosen and what is the selection process?

Recruitment to OzTAM’s metropolitan panel is entirely random.

Potential panel homes are first contacted by computerised random mobile dialing service calls to landlines and mobile phones. Every private residential household in OzTAM’s coverage area has a chance of being chosen for interview.

From those calls, a large-scale Establishment Survey – involving 50,000+ interviews each year – determines homes that collectively provide an accurate representation of the overall population OzTAM provides data for. The panel is carefully managed to ensure that remains the case, and its characteristics are also continually monitored against external benchmarks such as Australian Bureau of Statistics data.

We consult constantly and widely among our stakeholders to reinforce OzTAM as a robust, credible and independent data service that meets client needs

As part of OzTAM’s formal governance processes, the ABC and SBS, Media Federation of Australia (MFA), Australian Association of National Advertisers (AANA), and Australian Subscription Television and Radio Association (ASTRA) have observer status at OzTAM board meetings.

OzTAM also has a Technical Advisory Committee, comprised of representatives from across the media industry, which meets regularly to discuss technical issues with a focus on continuous improvement.

OzTAM has an independent auditor, responsible for ensuring OzTAM’s panels perform to specification. We also adhere to strict operational protocols put in place with the approval of the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission, and which reinforce OzTAM’s independence.

More information about OzTAM, our services and remit can be found on our website: www.oztam.com.au

Is it true that people who predominantly watch ABC do not get added to the panel?

No. In recruiting for the panel we never ask what channels or programs potential panel homes watch, or even how much TV they view. We ask the number of TVs in the home and whether or not they have subscription television, and the presence of technologies such as mobile phones and tablets.

Households are left alone as much as possible so that they watch TV just as they would if they were not part of the panel.

Why do you still allow certain networks to split their programs into various segments?

OzTAM takes program logs as provided by individual broadcasters, who decide how to code their own programs. Programs must be at least five minutes in duration however to be separately reported in the OzTAM published reports.

What is more important to the networks – total numbers or demos?

That’s really a question for the broadcasters. OzTAM provides minute-by-minute viewing data 24/7/365 for more than 100 free to air and subscription channels and across dozens of demographic variables. Paying subscribers may drill down into the data to suit their own needs, which vary considerably.

Considering all three commercial free-to-air networks sell 25-54, why doesn’t OzTAM release nightly shares in 25-54?

We do make available the top five programs in 25-54 (as well as 16-39 and 18-49) along with the top 20 in Total People each night. See, for example, TV Tonight’s daily ratings page: http://tvtonight.com.au/2016/08/saturday-6-august-2016.html

OzTAM is a commercial data service, which costs a significant amount of money to run. Detailed share and other ratings data are supplied to paying subscribers, whose subscriptions fund the service and pay for continuous improvement such as the recent announcement that the number of homes in our Metro and National STV panels will expand by 50 per cent next year.

Why can’t we have a list above Top 20 – e.g. Top 30, 40, etc for free?

OzTAM understands Australians (and TV Tonight readers) love TV and want to talk about it, so we make a certain amount of data available free of charge to media industry journalists and websites each day. The restrictions on the amount of OzTAM data that can be published aim to balance that interest while respecting our paying subscribers and protecting OzTAM’s copyright. So far as we’re aware, OzTAM makes much more data freely available than our counterparts in countries including New Zealand, the UK and US – and on a daily basis.

When will national ratings be launched? What is the delay?

OzTAM measures viewing in the five mainland capital cities and Regional TAM covers various regional markets. The two measurement companies have separate ownership and cover different broadcast licence areas (Australia’s current broadcasting laws prohibit mergers between metropolitan and regional affiliate TV networks.)

In the case of programs that are broadcast in both metro and regional markets, OzTAM and Regional TAM have procedures whereby data subscribers who wish to put the OzTAM and Regional TAM program audience estimates together to form a combined figure may do so. In such case, the data must be properly labeled and sourced so it’s clear what figure is being reported.


    • Why would you say such a thing. That fact that the system was shut down due to hacking is not the fault of the ABS or the Government for that matter. Hacking into computer systems is a worldwide problem. Shit happens!

      • It’s an obvious thing to say. ABS themselves say that they developed the servers to handle 250 census forms a second, which means 900,000 per hour. ABS’s own website estimates the number of households in Australia at 9,268,700. Now I would guess that the majority of households would be completing the census online and they would of tried to complete the census between the hours of 7pm and 9pm on Tuesday night. If you do the sums (which is what the ABS exists to do) then it just doesn’t make sense. ABS reliable….?

      • “That fact that the system was shut down due to hacking” hasn’t been confirmed as a “fact” yet. PM is pointing a finger at IBM – “IBM’s systems analysts were later mistaken in believing they had detected census data being stolen by overseas hackers, when in fact it was either people logging in from overseas or simply using VPNs.” (AFR)

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