On a daily basis, news is reported about the battles won and lost by Jinek and Op1 in a real war of figures in the talk shows. The success of television formats is still mainly measured by the figures from the KijkOnderzoek Foundation, but is their method actually up-to-date?
"With a simple push of a button at Ziggo, for example, you have a much better and more accurate analysis than via Kijk Kijk Research," said presenter Winston Gerschtanowitz earlier this week in an interview with De Telegraaf .
But cable providers cannot and do not want to share all the figures, Gerschtanowitz also knows. "The privacy law now does not allow measurement via digital providers, because viewers' personal data are protected, but the system has to change once."
The discussion about the working method of Stichting KijkOnderzoek, which presents us on a daily basis with the viewing figures of the previous evening on the basis of a sample, flares up regularly, because it does not register multiple devices such as tablets and telephones, would not take enough account of looking back and a too small number of households would include in the study.
To understand exactly how the current system works, it is advisable to first watch the video below.
90This is how viewing and listening figures are calculated
Many hooks and eyes
Although he understands the comments of Gerschtanowitz, director Sjoerd Pennekamp of the KijkOnderzoek Foundation explains that there are many hooks on obtaining and interpreting data from other providers. He considers the privacy law problem to be ridiculous, but foresees problems with the meaning of data from, for example, TV providers.
"The question is what you can do with this data. What information do we get from exactly such a box? You can see on which channel the box is, but not whether the image is on at all and how many people are watching", he explains. Pennekamp states that this causes problems that do not occur with the figures from Stichting KijkOnderzoek.
He explains that the households that participate in the viewing survey all have a special remote control, on which each family member can indicate individually whether he or she is watching. "If the father of the family is watching a program and the son joins in, then the son must also sign up."
1,250 households consisting of approximately 2,750 people participate. Pennekamp emphasizes that households are carefully selected. "Using a basic questionnaire on, for example, educational level, age, place of residence, family composition and migration background, we are recruiting a panel that is representative of the Dutch population on the basis of figures from Statistics Netherlands (CBS)," he explains.
Giovanca Ostiana and Tijs van den Brink are currently one of the five duos presenting Op1. The talk show of the NPO will compete with Jinek on RTL. (Photo: Op1)
'Measuring successes is more complicated with fragmented media use'
Television scientist Maarten Reesink of the UvA endorses the statistics behind the sample of Stichting KijkOnderzoek. "Statistically, it makes sense that most people don't know anyone participating in the television survey, but that doesn't mean you can make a representative sample with fairly simple statistics," he says.
Reesink says that the biggest problem with the measurement of viewing figures nowadays is that the various screens on which we take media are not recorded. "The television is just one of the devices and we are no longer just looking at a limited number of channels. Even if one party succeeds in getting hold of data from users of all kinds of players, it is almost impossible to give meaning to this. "
Media scientist Dan Hassler-Forest agrees that there is still no method that fully matches our contemporary viewing behavior. "If I had the solution, I would immediately apply for a patent," he laughs. "Over the past twenty years, we've seen a transition from a broadcast culture to the digital age, in which our media use is fragmented. It is sometimes difficult to determine when something is successful."
“There is much less chance of scraping a formula if the viewing figures do not immediately go through the roof. A kind of panic football is being played, in which it becomes increasingly difficult to maintain depth in programs. ”Dan Hassler-Forest, media scientist
"It will become panic football if programs do not score immediately"
But is not too much value attached to television wars in the television world? Hassler-Forest answers in the affirmative. "There is much less chance to plan a formula if the ratings do not go through the roof immediately."
"A kind of panic football is being played, where it is becoming increasingly difficult to maintain depth in programs. More short formats are being made that score quickly, rather than television that will benefit us in the long term."
Reesink calls it understandable that broadcasters often act on the basis of viewing figures. "Some formats need more time to grow, but you run a loss. How long do you as a store leave something on the shelves until you decide to remove it from the range if it does not sell? That is a constant consideration."
"You don't need thermometers everywhere to know how hot it is"
Hassler-Forest also sees a problem with measuring viewers watching programs. Stichting KijkOnderzoek now publishes the viewing figures from the night before in the morning and updates these figures a week later with a look back. "People watch non-current content more often in their own time, which can be much later. How long do you keep counting for these ratings?", He wonders.
Pennekamp agrees with these shifts in media use and the emergence of looking back, but still notices great interest in the daily viewing figures. "We may be losing it to the weather and the traffic jam information, but people still like to read it."
The director of Stichting KijkOnderzoek emphasizes that the current sample also complies with the laws of statistics. "As a rule, a larger sample does not necessarily produce more reliable results. You also do not need to have thermometers everywhere to know how hot it is." Reesink concludes: "What Kijk Kijkder Foundation can do, they do well, but what they can do is limited."
Pennekamp ensures that the KijkOnderzoek Foundation will continue to work on possible innovations. For example, the foundation is investigating the possibility of doubling the panel. The National Listening Survey (which publishes listening figures for radio programs) is working on technology on a mobile phone that determines which channel is being listened to via sound. He hopes to use the same panel and this technology for television channels. The project is still in a test phase, but must be launched in mid-2021.