TVision is building what its team hopes will become the standard for measuring streaming viewership — and to accelerate those efforts, it’s raised $16 million in new funding.
The New York City startup started out by measuring traditional TV viewing, using webcams to determine whether viewers were actually paying attention to the ads. More recently, it’s launched a solution focused on connected TVs, where co-founder and CEO Yan Liu said there’s no standard measurement.
“What I’ve found is that in streaming, there’s no such a thing called a TV rating,” he said. “There’s no good currency, per se, in the industry.”
Partly, that’s because the large players like Netflix and Disney+ are subscription-based, rather than ad-supported, so they have little incentive to work with third-party measurement firms.
Liu also said that the measurement solutions currently in the market are largely limited to tags — an approach that allows advertisers to measure how widely their ads were seen, but doesn’t show them how their performance stacks up against industry benchmarks or competitors.
So instead of relying on tags, TVision has built up a panel of connected TV watchers. In some ways, this is a very old-fashioned approach — it’s the core of how Nielsen measures TV audiences — but Liu said it’s harder than it looks, which is why you don’t see many other ad measurement companies building panels of their own.
He added that TVision (not to be confused with the T-Mobile streaming bundles of the same name) has built new technology that uses data like WiFi signals to determine whether an ad is being played on a streaming service or on linear TV.
And Liu said it’s doing all of this in a regulation-compliant and privacy-friendly way, preventing any personally identifiable information from being uploaded and ensuring that panelists understand what data their sharing.
TVision’s measurement platform is focused on connected TVs, rather than desktop/laptop computers or mobile devices. However, Liu said it can offer cross-platform insights through a partnership with Oracle’s Moat.
The startup is already working with customers like Pepsi, Anheuser-Busch, Hulu, AMC and Dentsu Aegis Network, and it has raised a total of $39 million in funding. The new round was led by SIG Asia Investments, an affiliate of global trading firm Susquehanna International Group. Existing investors Accomplice, Golden Ventures and Jump Capital also participated.