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

Meat and plant-based sales are both strong at Maple Leaf

Both priority areas performed well in the company's full-year results, helped by a boost in marketing for new products.
Maples Leaf All Natural 4

Maple Leaf Foods reported higher Q4 and full-year 2020 sales, driven by its sustainable meats and plant-based proteins. 

The CPG co. reported quarterly sales of $1.13 billion, up from $1.02 billion for Q4 2019, as well as net earnings of $25.4 million, compared to $17.5 million for the same period the year prior (an increase of 45.2%).

For full fiscal 2020, the company reported a total increase of 9.2% in sales, driven by what it says is “strong growth in both the meat and plant protein groups.”

“We have repositioned our portfolio towards two high-growth categories now representing 20% of our annual sales generating a compounded growth rate in excess of 25% over the last three years,” says Michael McCain, the company’s president and CEO.

Meat protein group sales  comprised of prepared meats, ready-to-cook and ready-to-serve meals, snack kits, value-added fresh pork and poultry products that are sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels, and agricultural operations  grew 11.3% for the quarter. 

Meanwhile, sales of plant protein products  refrigerated plant protein brands such as Lightlife and Field Roast, premium grain-based protein, and vegan cheese products sold to retail, foodservice and industrial channels  was up 5.5% over the same period. 

Sales growth for its meat portfolio was driven by “a favourable mix-shift towards sustainable meats and branded products,” but also growth in exports to Asian markets, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases, according to the company. Strong demand in the retail channel was offset by lower volume in foodservice as a result of COVID-19.

For its plant-based offerings, sales for 2020 were $210.8 million compared to $176.4 million last year, representing a growth of 19.5%, or 18.1% after excluding the impacts of foreign exchange. The segment was driven by expanded distribution of new products, continued volume increases in its existing portfolio, and pricing actions implemented to mitigate inflation and other structural cost increases.

SG&A expenses totalled $144 million for the plant group alone in 2020, with investments focused on advertising, promotion and marketing to build awareness, as well as supporting brand renovation and new product innovation. SG&A for meat proteins were $346.6 million for the full year, and the company says it expects SG&A levels and marketing investment in 2021 to be largely in line with where they were in 2020.

The company, which in 2019 announced it had gone carbon neutral, says it’s amplifying this commitment while “focusing on eliminating waste in any resources it consumes, including food, energy, water, packaging, and time.”