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Navigating media disruption in the Philippines with “always-on” cross-platform measurement
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Navigating media disruption in the Philippines with “always-on” cross-platform measurement

2020 was a year of disruptions for the Philippines, starting with the Taal Volcano explosion in January 2020 and continuing with the COVID-19 pandemic that caused strict and lengthy lockdowns beginning in March 2020 with the Enhanced Community Quarantine (ECQ). This was compounded in May 2020 by the shutdown of one of the Philippines’ two biggest networks, ABS-CBN. This chain of one disruption after another has led to a series of changes in consumer media behaviour and how different channels are being accessed. To navigate through the ongoing turbulence of this market, media sellers and buyers need a clear understanding of the rapidly changing Filipino media landscape. It’s never been so important for advertisers to have access to comprehensive, comparable cross-platform audience measurement to help them make informed decisions on how to efficiently reach and engage with their consumers

When ECQ was enacted, TV viewing heightened, with 21.2% ratings at the end of March 2020, an over 5-percentage-point increase from the month before. This significant upswing was observed throughout all dayparts and can be attributed in large part to the need for news and “thoughtful programming.” While COVID-19 led to this disruption and led to similar changes globally, the shutdown of ABS-CBN made the Philippines a unique case as the network’s main channel on its own took 33.5% of the total TV audience share in Q1 2020. The shutdown has led to lower total TV viewing levels overall (13.5% for Total Philippines for Q1 2021 compared to 17.0% in Q1 2020), but higher individual ratings for the remaining channels. 

With the loss of one of the major players and the necessity of remote working, more people got access to the internet, and the increase in internet penetration was more than 4 million people in urban Philippines alone (from 76% in Q1 2020 to 84% in Q1 2021). It was always common behavior for people who had access to both TV and internet to be using both at the same time, with 92% of TV viewers who are internet users doing both activities simultaneously multiple days a week. While individual channels increased in ratings, the lower ratings for total TV point to a higher incidence of these multi screeners deciding to go purely digital.

All of this is to say that the disruptions have led to a new balance in the media landscape and therefore leads to a higher need for always-on cross-platform measurement. Advertisers need to know which media and channels to allocate their budget and also need to be able to optimize their campaigns with data-driven decisions. Similarly, publishers need to be able to quantify to their advertiser clients what their platforms are able to provide.

One of the advocates of always-on cross-platform measurement is Dennis Perez of Unilever Philippines. The combination of disruptions and changes in the past year have made Unilever require an always-on cross-platform measurement. Dennis Perez, Media Director, Unilever Philippines & E-Commerce Media for SEAA, said: “After the disruptions in 2020, Unilever and Mindshare ran a pilot run of Nielsen’s Digital Ad Ratings and Total Ad Ratings. The data, benefits, and insights that these solutions were able to give enabled us to quantify the efficiency of our campaigns and gave us a higher level of confidence to make decisions about our advertising investments. Thus, we decided to pursue these measurement solutions in 2021.”

As the media landscape has evolved and continues to evolve in the Philippines, brands and publishers that have access to independent cross-media metrics to confidently plan, optimize and activate campaigns, and understand outcomes will be well-positioned to reach and connect with their most important audiences. 

Having “always on” cross-platform measurement can bring new benefits, including:

Holistic, data-driven insights: With more campaign data available, advertisers have a  better understanding of how their brand messages are reaching consumers, allowing them to make more informed decisions about where and how to allocate spend to reach their target audiences. They can also better analyze performance metrics across all campaigns to drive ad strategy by product category or specific brand.

Ad sales credibility: With continuous measurement, publishers have a strong understanding of the unique audiences their properties reach and are able to confidently enter ad sales negotiations knowing they can command the true value of their inventory.

Ease of campaign enablement: Since the measurement is always on, it’s automatic by nature, meaning a more simple campaign and placement set up process.