1. Who does Auditel belong to?
Auditel is a limited liability company with the following shareholders: RAI (Radio Televisione Italiana) 33%; RTI (Reti Televisive Italiane) 20.2%; UPA (Utenti Pubblicità Associati) 20%; Assap Servizi 11.5%; Mediaset 6.5%; La7 3.33%; Confindustria Radio Televisioni 3%; UNA (Aziende della Comunicazione Unite) 1.5%; FIEG (Federazione Italiana Editori Giornali) 1%. To guarantee maximum representation, the Board of Directors includes - in addition to the shareholders - the delegates of Sky and Discovery as prominent market players. Auditel has adopted the governance model recognized as the most advanced worldwide: it is the Joint Industry Committee (JIC), a mixed-control organization that brings together all TV market players, namely broadcasters, advertising investors, media agencies, and media centres. The market component governs the majority of our Board of Directors, while broadcasters play a surveillance role.
2. What is Auditel’s mission?
Auditel performs an important and delicate task: measuring and providing the data depicting, 24/7 and minute by minute, the entire digital, satellite, live and on-demand TV offer on all platforms and devices. A necessary (and monitored) task, as these data – at the core of advertising analyses and planning – express a currency, that is the unit of measurement used by all market players to assess return on investment in publishing and advertising. This is why the whole Auditel measurement process is trackable. Its algorithms and processing protocols are accessible and held in escrow. Certified reproduction of the audience data by external auditors can take place at any time. Today, Auditel measures the audience of both traditional TV and TV beyond TV sets, i.e. viewed on digital devices at home or elsewhere. A complex task made possible by painstaking social research and a sophisticated technological architecture.
3. How many TV broadcasters have chosen to be measured by Auditel?
We measure 380 TV channels, that is the entire TV offer as digital terrestrial (250 channels), digital satellite (130 pay and free-to-air channels), live or on-demand, on all platforms and devices. In particular, we measure linear TV using DTT (Digital Terrestrial Television) and DST (Digital Satellite Television) technologies. We also quantify non-linear OTT (Over the Top Television) audience on VCR (Video Cassette Recorder), PVR (Personal Video Recorder) and MySky up to 7 days after broadcasting, as well as on game consoles and other TV-connectable devices for viewing channels.
4. Who makes use of the Auditel data and why?
The Auditel data have dual value, editorial and commercial. They enable broadcasters to assess the efficacy of content choices and advertising investors to measure the positive outcome of messages. This is why our data are a currency recognised by the whole market.
5. How does Auditel measure households’ TV audience?
The 16,100 households of the so-called Auditel SuperPanel™ sample (representing the entire Italian population) are provided with an electronic device for monitoring their TV consumption on traditional TV, Smart TV, Tablet, PC, Game Console 24 hours a day. A complex technological architecture collects, weights and provides the audience data, that are published daily just before 10am. Once Auditel has processed these data, the software houses active on the TV market submit sophisticated analyses of TV audience to their clients (broadcasters, advertising investors, media centres, etc.). In fact, Auditel provides valuable in-depth information on TV viewers (such as gender, age, geographic area, socio-economic class, education) and programme performance (share, minutes viewed, peaks, falls, etc.) used by both publishers and advertisers. Every day we produce a currency recognized and used by the TV market to manage business relationships between the producers of TV content and the buyers of TV advertising slots.
6. Does Auditel measure out-of-home TV audience?
Since 16th December 2018 Auditel has integrated the sample survey system with the census survey system for measuring TV viewings from home and out of home, on Smart TV, Tablet, PC, Smartphone and Game Console with sophisticated and reliable technology (SDK + Focal Meter) detecting real viewings – stream views – and excluding stream starts and stream requests. A digital tag – or SDK –, installed directly by Auditel on all the players broadcasters provide content from, measures the viewings of any editorial or advertising content played and actually watched by individuals on each device, with no intermediation, second by second. The census system doesn’t replace the sample system: it integrates it instead. The next steps are going to allow sample and census data matching, hence the creation of the so-called Total Audience: the aggregation of traditional TV audience with digital device audience, thanks to univocal and homogeneous metrics, which will be available with both digital and traditional TV standards.
7. Does Auditel measure on-demand audience?
Yes, it does. Since 1st May 2011, Auditel has also measured the audience of programmes and adverts viewed at a different time from the actual broadcasting, using two main criteria: first, Viewing On Same Day As Live (VOSDAL), when the deferred viewing takes place on the same day as broadcasting; second, Time-Shifted Viewing (TSV), when the deferred viewing takes place from one to up to x days after broadcasting. Two limits are associated with Time-Shifted Viewing in Italy: Time-Shifted Viewing (TSV) +4 days; Time-Shifted Viewing (TSV) +7 days. TSV up to +4 days is the datum used for advertising analysis, but a +7 days consolidated datum is also available for editorial analysis.
8. Can the sample data and the census data be added together?
At present, the audience data obtained with the sample system run parallel with the census audience data on viewings from digital devices at home and out of home. The data produced by the new census system do not replace and cannot be added together with the sample system data: they can only be used side by side. But at present , the Auditel Standard is only at the first step of an already programmed implementation process which, thanks to the technological evolution taking place with the launch and wide spreading of the 5G transmission system and the gradual replacement of traditional TVs with Smart TVs, will allow us to add the audience of a programme, content or advert viewed on traditional TV to the audience of the same programme, content or advert viewed on digital devices, thus obtaining the whole average minute total audience. The ‘TV Total Audience’ (as it is technically defined by stakeholders) is a “mirage” for all audience measurement organizations and all our international counterparts: everyone is working on it, no one has been able to realise it yet.
9. Who guarantees the Auditel data are reliable?
A rigorous control system ensures absolute data reliability through 10 points: 1. full intellectual property rights on infrastructures, protocols, know-how and databases for comprehensive process monitoring and total transparency (no black box); 2. completely monitorable and auditable protocols, algorithms and procedures; 3. continuous cross-check on all the measured TV market competitors, which can rely on a constantly verified data quality; 4. the subjects monitoring Auditel’s activity have full control power, with a data “reproduction” protocol that can be executed even months after issuing by third auditors; 5. systematic controls on procedures, IT security, data processing and SuperPanel™ households management according to certified protocols given to third auditors; 6. spot checks by third auditors in accordance with the verified protocols; 7. development of automated closed-source systems for internalising cross-checks on data; 8. controls on teams and staff training and refresher training process; 9. surveillance by three Authorities: Communications Regulatory Authority (AgCom), Antitrust Authority (Agcm), Data Protection Authority; 10. close and continuous Risk Mapping procedure to identify the main risks Auditel might face, assessing possible impacts and constantly updating the measures to reduce and/or neutralise such risks.
10. Who monitors Auditel’s activity?
Auditel’s activity is deeply rooted in the national regulatory framework, and looked after and monitored by three Authorities: the Communications Regulatory Authority (AgCom); the Antitrust Authority (Agcm); the Data Protection Authority (Privacy). We have engaged in continuous dialogue with the three of them. For example, the new sample – the SuperPanel™ - , the gestation of its regulating model and its implementation plan have gone through a long verification and sharing process in collaboration with AgCom, which, according to law 249 of 1997, “oversees audience and media distribution indexes measurement, verifies the surveys on audience and media distribution indexes carried out by other parts, validates the accuracy of audience and distribution measurement methods and the truthfulness of the published data, as well as the measurement of TV programmes and the activity of the companies conducting the surveys”. Auditel has fulfilled this obligation with a note – available as PDF on the AgCom website – detailing its activity.