Return Path Data

Where there is a set-top box, audience viewership information is collected by means of an application installed in the box.

Information obtained via a return path from a set-top box or from user’s device as applicable for OTT platforms, is referred to as return path data (RPD).

Its sheer size and granularity give RPD an edge over methods that rely on audience samples, especially as media consumption has become so fragmented. Within the context of its service platform, RPD yields greater accuracies, and enables a deeper understanding of audience behaviour. It facilitates ‘long tail reporting’, i.e., tiny audiences can be accurately measured and reported. Reports can also be generated at a more granular level on any of the dimensions — time, geography, demography.

Beyond audience measurement, the applications extend into content marketing, acquisition and development; subscriber marketing, acquisition and retention; loyalty schemes and selling advertising space.

Where consumers’ purchasing data is accessible, RPD can yield clearer insights on the short-term sales impact of advertising campaigns.

What is apparent however, is the great diversity of devices and platforms, yielding audience information that differs in structure and content, and is owned by multiple players. Combining all this information to form a single currency that cuts across platforms and across screens and devices, is a task that audience measurement service providers have been grappling with for quite some time.

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