While a growing number of competitive TV ratings companies are combining native measurements of cable box and smart TV data, there is another group of companies innovating invasive measurements to enhance the informative value of native measurements.
TVision is a great example of such an innovator.
Sensing that button pushing is not the best way to measure who is watching the television, TVision decided to swap out the button for a camera: thereby converting the active requirement of self identifying button pushing with the passive camera-based recognition measurement of who is in the room and incrementally, who is looking at the television with their eyes open (what I call watching the television).
TVision started with specialized commercial technologies that require a team of installers to set up in cooperating households to deploy, collect, and process the feeds to report both in the room exposures and eyes on second-by-second TV viewing. The purpose of these operations were twofold: they offered proof of concept and data to start understanding television watching better. Upon achieving these milestones, TVision went on to innovate by rewriting all aspects of the systems, migrating from specialized, hard to install, gear to generic, easy to install, gear.
Today, the now inexpensive gear is so easy to self-install that TVision simply mails it to cooperating households. Since the camera imagery never leaves households, cooperators are comfortable deploying the gear: yes, even in bedrooms! Given the costs of setting up and maintaining panels is expensive, TVision sends only one kit to each cooperating household and asks them to install it on their primary television.
TVision’s panel proves that its technology is both useful, with its new ability to passively report second-by-second whose eyes are on the television, and usable, with its real life in the field deployment and operations.
Strategically, TVision has accomplished two things of note.