DStv suspends HD-PVR panel


DStv has decided to suspend temporarily, but with immediate effect, the expanded viewer panel to measure television viewing in High Definition (HD) subscriber homes that was instituted at the end of July 2012. The decision became effective from 14 May 2013 and will be reviewed at a later date.

The decision follows an audit by an international organisation CESP of the processes and procedures for television audience measurement in South Africa. Audience measurement and reporting is done by Nielsen Media Research under a contract with the South African Audience Research Foundation (SAARF), the body responsible for audience measurement in this country.

While the audit found that the methodology of the South African Television Audience Measurement System (TAMS) corresponds to the international best practice, it also pointed to areas where corrective action needs to be taken and identified factors that could possibly have affected the statistical efficiency of the TAMS panel. This included the implementation of the boosted HD-PVR panel.

While DStv does not believe the panel boost affected the statistical efficiency of the information, and has an independent audit report to support this, it fully supports all initiatives to improve the accuracy and reliability of audience measurement in South Africa. It also welcomes the contribution that the CESP audit can make towards bringing about this improvement through the action plan put together by the SAARF Board following the audit.

DStv has therefore decided to suspend the expanded panel for three months. This will remove the panel boost as a possible issue in current audience measurement, and will enable an assessment of any potential impact after three months.

It is common practice internationally to boost TAMS panels where audience samples are too small to provide meaningful data to broadcasters and advertisers and the HD panel boost was necessary because, as HD viewership grew and the number of HD channels expanded, the number of naturally occurring HD subscriber homes in the TAMS sample was insufficient to provide meaningful data. The additional homes not only allowed measurement of HD channels but also measured all viewing behaviour within HD households.

The boost added 170 HD-PVR homes to the 30 or so existing homes in the TAMS panel. The increase in HD homes is however corrected by weighting. While the expanded panel remains suspended, naturally occurring HD homes will remain in the database, but the sample size will be far reduced.

SAARF plans to expand the TAMS panel from about 1,700 households to approximately 3,000 households over the next few months. The larger TAMS panel will eliminate many of the current shortcomings, ensure greater accuracy in audience measurement and provide broadcasters and advertisers with the reliable numbers that they need.

Full articel here:

In a separate announcement, a MultiChoice communiqué claimed that the company is planning to change the transmission of its high definition (HD) TV channels, but said that subscribers who require an adjustment to their dish installation will have to pay for it themselves.