Picture Matching works with digital TV

I am prompted to write to you regarding the article you published on March 27, entitled 'ARF issues media measurement warning', with the subhead 'People meters won't measure up in digital TV environment.' The article is misleading in its tone and...

I am prompted to write to you regarding the article you published on March 27, entitled ‘ARF issues media measurement warning’, with the subhead ‘People meters won’t measure up in digital TV environment.’

The article is misleading in its tone and in much of its content.

Taylor Nelson Sofres is one of the world’s leading television audience measurement companies. We operate people meter systems in 18 different countries around the world and are the suppliers of the Picture Matching technology which BBM uses in Canada.

BBM’s system has been widely endorsed by users from all sides of the industry, ranging from television broadcasters to agencies and advertisers. In several countries, including Canada and the U.K., we are already successfully using Picture Matching to provide accurate measurement of digital television delivered by satellite, terrestrial broadcasting and cable. Indeed, one of the reasons for developing Picture Matching was specifically to deal with digital.

Where you are correct is in saying that older systems such as the tuner probe technology used by BBM’s competitor cannot deal with digital television.

Among the facilities which digital television will offer will be the ability for the viewer to customize the picture which he watches; similarly, the interactive services provided by digital television will afford a wide variety of potentially different forms of on-screen presentation. These facilities are just starting to arrive and no one can predict with any certainty what impact they will have.

Meanwhile, for now and the immediate future, the overwhelming majority of viewing is to conventional forms of television delivered as either analogue or digital signals. Our clients continue to demand the use of people meters to provide accurate measurement of viewing to those services.

As a supplier of television audience measurement, we are concerned to know and understand what information needs we will have to meet as customized digital and interactive television develops. I therefore welcome the NATAM initiative to establish some guidelines for those requirements. I would urge them to include representatives of agencies and advertisers in their group to ensure that it is fully representative of the needs of all users.

If they can do that, then I am entirely confident that we can develop the technology to meet those needs; no doubt we shall have to employ a range of techniques to do so. I am equally confident that within that environment, the tried and tested technologies of people meters and Picture Matching will continue to play an important role.

Michael A. Kirkham


Taylor Nelson Sofres

London, England

From Karen Howe’s dining table: Creativity, COVID and Cannes

ICYMI, The Township's founder gathers the best of the best campaigns and trends so far.

Cannes Base Camp

By Karen Howe

I’m attending Cannes from the glory of my dining room table. There’s not a palm tree in sight, yet inspiration and intel are present in abundance.

Cannes Lions is a global cultural pulse check. The social course correction in the wake of the murder of George Floyd and BLM has delivered far greater diversity in the judging panels as well as the work. And we are all better for it.

I’m proud to say that creativity defeated COVID, which speaks to its power. Great work and big ideas flourished, despite unimaginable odds.

The work from the past two years spans a vast emotional range. From the profundity of Dove’s “Courage is Beautiful” to the hyper exuberance of Burberry’s “Festive,” they are opposite ends of the spectrum, but each answered a need in us.

Take note, the ascendency of gaming cannot be understated. Smart brands have embraced the channel. It makes sense, because gamers participate to meet others around the world, not just to play. And they represent a huge and powerful community. That’s why QSR Wendy’s gamified their iconic gal in RPG’s Feast of Legends.

Burger King sponsored the unknown Stevenage Football Club, transforming the team into online heroes and vaulting BK into the fray at the same time. Once again, the brand embedded itself in culture.

The birth of gaming tourism arrived when Xbox snuggled up to travel guides and created a brilliant baby: a travel guide for gaming worlds. It, too, embedded itself in culture.

From the standpoint of social good, Reporter Without Borders showed how it worked with Mindcraft for its “Uncensored Library” to bypass press censorship, with Minecraft providing a loophole to a space where young people could be educated. It provided youth with a powerful tool to fight oppression: truth.

COVID changed us in unexpected ways. We learned how to pay attention again and there was a notable lack of 30-second commercials. Instead, longer format content thrived. Apple’s WFH was seven minutes long. Entertainment reigned king, so we find ourselves returning to our advertising roots.

Seeing competitive brands form partnerships was one of this year’s other great surprises. The brilliantly simple “Beer Cap Project” by Aguila to reduce binge-drinking saw the brand reach out to competitive beers to join in. Aguila put incentivizing (keyword: free) reminders to drink water, eat food and get home safely on its bottle caps from all sorts of fast food chains, ride-share co’s and H2O brands.

On a personal level, I’m so proud of Canada again this year. Given that it was two years of work from all over the world being judged, even making the Cannes shortlist was an accomplishment. Canada is herding in the Lions in tremendous numbers – and it’s not even over. Fingers are crossed.

KAREN-HOWE-PIC-higher-rez-300x263Karen Howe is a Canadian Cannes Advisory Board Member and founder of The Township Group