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UKOM and Nielsen’s rollout of the industry’s first standard online video metric will be invaluable for broadcasters, but also highlights the failings of the Broadband Measurement Working Group.

Last week the UK Online Measurement Company (UKOM) and Nielsen unveiled the first industry-backed online video metric (nma 19 May 2011). The news means broadcasters and brands can directly compare web viewing with TV for the first time, which will inevitably increase confidence and spend in the sector.

Although the arrival of UKOM’s VideoCensus metric on the market was later than anticipated, it has nonetheless beaten the progress of another body whose remit is also to establish a common metric for online video, albeit across all devices: the Broadband Measurement Working Group.

This group, made up of ABCE, BARB, the BBC, BT Vision, Channel 4, the IPA, ITV, Sky and Virgin Media, remains unable to commit to a deadline for the rollout of a standard metric for video on demand across web-connected devices four years after its launch (nma 3 February 2011). The reasons why the body’s progress has been slow has confused many, including broadcasters themselves.

At nma TV’s roundtable last month, ITV’s MD of online and on-demand Robin Pembrooke agreed that the progress of the BMWG hasn’t been as fast as he would have liked, but he went on to praise UKOM’s progress. However, he was also quick to point out the necessity for UKOM to keep evolving its measurement system, as broadcasters increasingly launch their content across mobile, connected TVs and other platforms.

In a sector like digital, the importance of pace is vital. But the BMWG’s slow progress is another example of how a consortium-led joint venture can hamper the achievement of quick, tangible results – YouView having suffered from similar issues.

The release of VideoCensus is a significant step and will be of huge benefit to broadcasters, most of which have stressed the importance of increasing their understanding of audience engagement with online content. But its arrival may come at the expense of the BMWG, which must accelerate its efforts if it’s to avoid becoming redundant.

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Published 26 May, 2011 by NMA Staff

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