All forecasts in Television Intelligence are done in-house based on historical and current data gathered first-hand directly from the companies concerned or from trade bodies with which Screen Digest maintains a relationship. We pride ourselves on knowing the background to every number and every data point within our Intelligence service and never rely on third party sources. This solid data grounding provides a sound basis on which to develop our models all of which are built company-by-company and technology-by-technology. Totals are then derived from the component parts and are thus wholly granular.
We do not rely simply on statistical curve fits or other basic modeling techniques which we have found to be completely inadequate in forecasting media markets. All of our models are based on our analysts? in-depth understanding of the markets concerned and the players involved and are developed on a ground-up basis taking into account both past and current growth rates and the individual factors that go into contributing to a market size or value.
All inputs required are thus overseen by a senior analyst who will apply his own market knowledge and take into account company guidance and information and feedback obtained from interviews with senior industry executives knowledgeable of the market or market factor being examined.
Assumptions vary model by model but a pay television revenue model, for example, would include future pricing scenarios, total subscriber take-up and subscriber take-up by tier of service. Another example would be on-demand revenue models which require a greater range of inputs including: buy-rates, pricing, content mix (movie, tv, sport, adult etc.), technology mix (nVoD, VoD, VoD+PVR), platform type (cable, DTH, DSL, DTT) and impact of PVR and other devices on buy rate.
Because each model is individual and each market and geography different, an analyst is always available at the end of a telephone to explain the thinking behind a forecast or to give general market views.
A la carte channels: single or packaged (often niche genre) channels that carry an individual subscription fee but do not fall into the traditional movie/sport-driven premium category.
ARPU: ARPU is an acronym for Average Revenue per Unit and is equivalent to the average revenue generated by each subscriber in a given period (usually monthly or yearly).
Basic television: the lowest level of service available for which the customer has to pay a monthly fee.
Broadband Internet: High-speed Internet generally taken to be Internet offered at speeds greater than 150Kbits/second. The term cable Internet also generally refers to broadband Internet offered over cable (as opposed to DSL or fibre).
Cable telephony: A telephony service offered by a cable company. May also be used more specifically to mean a telephony service offered by a cable company over a separate copper telephony twisted pair wire and directly equivalent to a telecom company?s plain old telephony service. This therefore differs from VoIP (see below).
Catch-up TV: Television content derived from the schedule of a linear TV channel that is made available on-demand for a period after first broadcast.
Churn: Churn is an expression of the number of customers leaving a network (cancelling their subscription) in a given period calculated as a percentage of the average number of customers to that network during the period.
CPE: Means Consumer Premises Equipment and refers to a piece of hardware within the consumer?s home used to access a service. A CPE device would commonly be a set-top box, modem or PVR.
Digital TV: A television service delivered in digital form and requiring a digital set-top box to digital television set to view.
DTH: Stands for Direct to Home and is widely used in Europe to mean Direct to Home satellite.
DTT: Digital Terrestrial Television is a platform for television delivery that makes use of over the air transmission in digital format. Digital Terrestrial Television has been launched in the UK, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Finland, Sweden and Germany. DTT may be offered on a free-to-air or pay TV business model.
Double-play: Double play describes a cable company offering two separate services (nearly always television plus Internet), or a customer taking two services from their cable operator.
EST: Electronic Sell Through refers to online retail of content. Content bought in such a way can often be transferred to devices other than the one purchased on.
Extended basic television: channels or packages of channels which would in the past have been packaged in the basic tier but which have been split off and are now offered as an add-on to the basic service. Extended basic services are often themed mini-groupings of channels, thus in situations were a small and large basic option are offered, the larger basic would not be considered to be an extended basic package. Instead, both would be considered basic.
Gatekeeper: In relation to content refers to the company or organisation owning exclusive rights to key content like major Hollywood movies or top-league sports.
HDTV: Stands for High-Definition Television and refers to a broadcast signal with a higher resolution than current standard-definition television. The greater resolution is a factor of the number of active lines of display resolution which commonly in HD formats is either 720 or 1080 with the transmission method being either progressive frames (p) or interlaced fields (i).
Homes passed: Homes passed is the number of homes passed by the physical infrastructure controlled by a given cable company. It represents the number of potential customers to a cable service or the number of homes that could take the cable services if they chose to do so.
IPTV: Internet Protocol Television IPTV is the delivery over a broadband network of television content using Internet protocol within a ?walled garden? network. IPTV has been widely used by telecoms operators to offer TV over their ADSL networks. IPTV can also be used by cable companies both within their own network infrastructure and as a means of expanding their service reach outside their areas of operation over unbundled third-party DSL networks.
On-demand TV: On-demand television is the delivery of TV content on request. Content is usually selected from a menu of available material and viewed one or more times within a period of time. There are a number of related terms and acronyms associateds with this form of television as follows:
PPV: Stands for pay-per-view and refers to the business model used for on-demand television, where a charge is made for each piece of content viewed.
nVOD: Stands for near Video-on-Demand and refers to an on-demand television system in which multiple channels are used to show the same piece of content at staggered start times. The gap between each available viewing time is a factor of the number of channels dedicated to the service and the amount of content on offer, but would commonly be 15 minutes or half an hour. nVOD systems are used by satellite pay television operators like BSkyB which lack a broadband back-channel allowing true Video-on-Demand and by cable companies that have yet to fully upgrade their networks.
VOD: Stands for Video-on-Demand and sometimes for clarity referred to as true Video-on-Demand refers to an on-demand television system in content is stored on a server and streamed in real time to the viewer. VOD systems allow the customer to start viewing the content at any time as well as to pause and rewind the content.
Pay TV: Within television Intelligence a pay TV subscriber is any multichannel television user paying a monthly fee for their television service.
Premium television: single or packaged of high-value channels that contain premium content and command a high customer subscriber fee. Examples would include Canal Plus, TV1000, Sky Movies.
PVR: A Personal Video Recorder (commonly known in the US as a DVR or Digital Video Recorder) is a type of set-top box that contains a hard disc onto which content can be recorded and stored. The PVR gives the end user VOD-like functionality and can also be combined with an nVOD service to give local access to content that is sold on a PPV basis. They have proved popular with satellite operators unable to offer VOD, but PVRs are also being rolled out by operators that have true VOD services because of the added viewing benefits that they bring (like capacity to pause and rewind ?live? TV).
Primary set and total homes: Digital homes are increasingly multiplatform so the concept of the primary set is now central to forecast methodology. The primary set refers to the primary viewing platform in the home. It is independent of the number of television sets in the household as a single set (for example an integrated digital television that also receives a pay TV service), may receive content from two separate platforms. The primary set thus refers to the primary platform or service used to view television. Data that is referred to as primary set data sums to 100 per cent of television households as only one platform or service is counted in each household regardless of how many platforms or services the household has access to.
The converse is total homes which also remains an important measure. It is, of course, still important to know the total number of digital terrestrial homes regardless of whether that home uses digital terrestrial as its main means of viewing. Total homes will often sum to more than 100 per cent of TV homes because a home with two platforms is counted twice.
RGU: Means Revenue Generating Unit and is an individual service contract. A single unique subscribing home may account for up to three RGUs in a triple-play household. Triple-play refers to television, telephony and Internet.
OTT: Over the Top content delivered to the TV or PC via an open Internet broadband Internet connection. Distinct from IPTV which is closed network and delivered to a set-top box.
Progressive download: A system whereby content is transferred over an open or closed network and stored in memory. After a period of buffering, the content may be played out in real time or watched later depending on usage restrictions. At the completion of a progressive download a copy of the file is left on the device unless software intervenes to remove it. Many ?streaming? services in fact use progressive download.
Quad-play: Quad-play, is the addition by a triple-play cable operator of a fourth service. Quad-play is epitomised by the recent strategy of NTL which has brought mobile services within its customer proposition through the acquisition of Virgin Mobile.
Set-top box: A cable set-top box is an analogue or digital receiver and decoder that converts the signal received via cable to one suitable for a standard television set. The set-top also performs certain conditional access functions and runs the software that enables interactive television services. Set-top boxes are widely used in digital cable television, but less widely used for analogue.
Subscribers: A subscriber is an individual cable customer, the important distinction being that a subscriber is a single unique unit and thus differs from a subscription or RGU.
Subscriptions/RGUs: A subscription represents an individual service contract and thus a single subscriber can represent several subscriptions (for example one each for TV, telephone and Internet). An equivalent term widely used in the cable industry is Revenue Generating Unit (RGU). One RGU represents one service contract.
Triple-play: Triple-play describes a cable operator offering three different services (television, Internet and telephony) or a cable customer taking three services from their cable provider.
Unique cable home: A unique home is an individual subscribing home. One unique home may subscribe to several services and so each unique home can represent more than one Revenue Generating Unit (RGU). The number of Unique cable homes is used to calculate blended ARPU for a cable operator.
Voice over IP (VoIP): A telephony service that makes use of Internet protocol as the transmission technology for calls, sending voice data in packets using IP rather than by traditional circuit transmissions of a standard Public Switched Telephone Network (PSTN). VoIP via cable allows the customer to plug a standard phone into a terminal adapter and allows full quality voice calling.