Cable Giants Partner For Set-Top Box Data

Time Warner Cable and Cablevision Release Report on New York TV Viewing Habits

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Time Warner Cable and Cablevision are partnering to provide advertisers with set-top box data that reveals granular viewing trends in the New York market.

The cable operators said they will release a quarterly report based on audience tuning data on more than 300 TV networks, drawn from more than 3.5 million households that represent nearly half of the New York designated market area.

Advertisers are increasingly looking to target TV audiences more precisely than the standard age and sex demographics allow. Time Warner Cable and Cablevision said their new advertiser data is designed to provide detailed insights about New York TV viewing that cannot be garnered from traditional measurement methods.

Cablevision Media Sales President Ben Tatta said the data can show, for example, viewing on some of the smallest TV networks, where audiences are typically reported as "scratch" by measurement systems such as Nielsen's. These niche channels may be valuable to advertisers trying to reach a specific audience that may be difficult or inefficient to reach on larger TV channels, he said.

"Getting data at scale in a specific market is next to impossible," Mr. Tatta said. "Most measurement is done based on models."

Still, there's been some concern in the marketplace about potential errors with set-top box data, like false positives for viewing that could result from a cable box left on while the TV is switched off.

Mr. Tatta acknowledged the need for traditional audience measurement, but says set-top box data can provide additional useful data for advertisers.

According to the companies' initial study, 74% of tuning hours in Cablevision and Time Warner Cable households in the New York DMA are consumed outside of prime time.

Joan Gillman, chief operating officer and exec VP, Time Warner Cable Media, said the company may eventually release reports for other markets as well.

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