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comScore Sets New Standards for Streaming Media Measurement

The latest report also included findings that challenge some traditional assumptions about online video consumers. Though 35-54-year-olds make up only 38% of the total online population in the U.S., 45% of all video consumers fall in that same age bracket, according to comScore. That means a user in that demographic is 20% more likely to consume video content than the average Internet user, McCabe says. Further, users in the 25-34-year-old bracket are 12% more likely than the average Internet user to consume streaming video content.

The report also includes information that will be of interest beyond the content provider and advertising markets, including data on media player penetration, standalone vs. embedded player usage, and streaming vs. progressive downloading. Other relevant information included in the report breaks down the types of sites from which people are streaming as well as the amount of time people are spending watching and listening to media online.

"It’s not just one type of site—entertainment or sports, for instance--anymore, and people are willing to engage in streaming video and audio for longer periods than ever before," says Hunter. "Of course, you have to provide appealing content. Inserting 15-second and 30-second ads in a stream might be the easiest approach, but it’s the least creative and least interesting. Besides, if you simply insert an irrelevant ad in the middle of a video stream or game, users are going to be annoyed, and rightfully so."

A long way from server logs
Until now, meaningful reporting in the streaming industry has been hard to come by. Content providers often relied on server logs or basic Web log reports for numbers. Other services depend on surveys of content delivery networks and major providers to make broad assumptions about the billions of bits of data streamed every day.

But those numbers always came without context. Ad agencies are not terribly interested in the number of hits a stream receives unless there is demographic detail to go along with it. Demographic assumptions can be made based on the general traffic to the site, but guesses do not translate into a reliable stream of ad dollars.

While server logs and Web log reports provide basic indicators of how a particular site is doing, there is little reliable information available about competing sites or performance within a specific market segment. The ability to report competitive metrics is important, comScore says, because it incites innovation and spurs growth in ad revenue.

New Measurement Technology
comScore has become a leading source for information on Web traffic trends through its Media Metrix division, and also operates a growing consumer survey business. Since 2000, comScore Networks has grown an opt-in panel of more than two million consumer households that give explicit consent to be confidentially monitored in exchange for various incentives, such as virus protection software and other prizes.

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