VOZ: Reach v Average: The Debate rages

As we will have all noticed by now, Oztam has moved to a new standard which promotes Reach ahead of Average ratings. Is this a good or bad thing?

For folks who study the data, the loss of metro/regional breakdowns, not to mention Foxtel ratings is a backward step in the disemination of information and we are poorer for not having that data to hand. And even when it did have Foxtel, the broadcaster believes 40% of its ratings werent counted.

There are concerned individuals on Bigfooty who believe that the change to Reach better reflects the total viewership of a program where averages tend to advantage shorter running programs, while observers on other forums believe that that view is worthy of disdain due to the short periods that Reach encompasses before measuring a viewer.

However, it remains that forum and social media users are not necessarily the most informed of commentators at times, and so we turn to the experts to get an informed and rounded view on this.

Senior media agency executives told Mediaweek that agencies would not switch to VOZ as a trading currency until it achieves gold standard certification, with Q4 2024 cited by agencies as the earliest this could happen.

James Warbaton at Seven was one of the primary drivers of the move – The Seven West Media chief executive explained to Mediaweek why there will be a new metric that is the focus of the reports:

Warburton said: “This is a big and important moment for the TV industry, as it means that – for the first time – we will be accurately reporting the true size of our audiences, including the reach of our content as well as average daily total TV audiences and most importantly they will be fully national measurement.

“The new VOZ reports will rank programs by audience reach (they will also give average total TV audience numbers nationally). Reach is the key performance metric for advertisers, and reach-ranked viewership provides a more comparable metric to other media, in particular online.

“While other media have spruiked what seemed like higher reach numbers, television will now be directly comparable to demonstrate our size and scale. Importantly this VOZ data will go directly into the reach and frequency systems of the media buyers and is a crucial step in getting advertising revenue share back to our medium.”


TV Blackbox providede some insights into it on their podcast.

“It’s business as usual,” said Lucy Formosa Morgan, managing director of Magna. “None of the third-party systems providers are gold standard certified yet. So, it’s not a trading currency and we’re still very much trading on TAM data. I would say for the next 12 months, it will still be business as usual, with the same methodology.”

Karen Halligan

“OzTAM’s new VOZ Total TV program ranking reports provide reach and audience data – both of which are relevant to media agencies across their full plan-trade-evaluate process. Reach-ranked viewership also provides a more comparable metric to other media, particularly online.

“OzTAM reports are public domain and as such can be interpreted by trade media as they see fit in their reporting.”


Sarinna Harte,
Integrations and Agency Investment Lead Ryvalmedia

“Now we can see the Total National Reach, Regional included, and we can see BVOD numbers all together, it makes sense. It makes it a really great selling proposition for us to get clients on board for a ‘holistic screens approach’ (instead of) Traditional versus Digital. It’s great, because it’s all combined and we don’t have to go to several different platforms to then tell that story.”


Frank Carlino
Sydney Investment Lead, Carat

“The networks can’t disguise the fact that clients still know what’s going on. As agencies we need to inform our clients and we continue to do that. So the tools still allow for us to give Average audience and that’s the way we buy, because when you put a spot in a certain programme you buy it to either an hour break, or whatever it is… it is average audience. You can’t actually pinpoint the amount of spikes in terms of the Reach. You can’t go ‘I want my spot at 10:01pm’, or else you pay a Premium.

“It’s not going to change the way we buy or what clients see. It’s just another way the networks are using to try and get some revenue back.”

“I think it’s good for the TV industry to get revenue back for the networks but it’s just all smoke and mirrors. Reach isn’t what we trade on, we buy average audience. And also we don’t buy a national audience as well. We buy it by market.


The Telegraph reported that while an overhaul of the Australian ratings system has been deemed necessary by most in the TV industry, many are branding the new method as “confusing,” “misleading,” “inflated” and “skewed in favour of Seven Network”.

“Seven pushed for this new ratings system because they knew they’d come out looking better than Nine,” one TV insider told Saturday Confidential.

“At the time they argued that it makes all free-to-air TV look better so they convinced Nine and Ten to come along for the ride.

“Many people in the industry think the figures are a joke.

“The fact is, Nine is killing it in 2024. They’ve had their strongest first quarter ever, but you wouldn’t know it from the new ratings numbers.”


“The average is a better reflection of actual audience,” one advertising source said.

“But the reach is a joke and ridiculous.

“Advertisers still just care about east coast numbers — Sydney, Melbourne and Brisbane and that’s where Nine is dominant.”


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