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Rovi, TNS Team On Set-Top Data

Interactive program guide (IPG) supplier Rovi Corporation and measurement firm TNS Media Research are teaming up to develop new advanced TV and set-top-box (STB) measurement solutions.

The collaboration will combine Rovi’s clickstream technology with TNS’ measurement capabilities to try to paint a more accurate picture of consumers’ viewing habits across live, timeshifted and on-demand TV programming. The partnership, which will require the agreement of cable operator customers to share their set-top data, will also give new attention to how consumers use their IPGs.

“The proposition on the table, through the partnership with TNS, is to help our customers in the industry measure the total viewing experience,” says Scott Rosenberg, VP of advanced advertising for Rovi.

Under the terms of the agreement, TNS Media Research will measure the performance of advertising in Rovi IPGs in participating cable systems. The two companies will also work together to provide guide and audience measurement solutions to cable systems and advertisers. Rovi estimates that its IPG advertising technology is active in more than 50 million homes worldwide, including 25 million homes in North America

TNS already provides set-top measurement for a number of multichannel operators and cable programmers including Charter, DirecTV and Discovery. TNS Chief Operating Officer George Shababb says the Rovi deal represents an “exciting opportunity” to advance the work TNS has already done on collecting and measuring return-path data.

“We’ll be able to develop metrics on how people navigate the guide and what interactive advertising they avail themselves of, and put that in the broader context of the entire tuning session,” says Shabbab. “So we can build a reporting service that reports on the real nature of audience flow that’s going on in a digital home.”

Rovi also licenses its program guide technology to a number of TV set manufacturers to provide a navigation solution to consumers who don’t rely on a cable or satellite set-top box. Since many of the latest HDTV sets with Rovi guide technology also include Ethernet jacks that allow them to be connected to a home network and access broadband content, Rovi and TNS say they will also try to eventually develop measurement systems to report on “over-the-top” viewing of broadband content on those sets.

“There is clearly the opportunity for us to expand the backchannel to include the broadband connection,” says Shabbab.