This article has been published in IRIS Legal Observations of the European Audiovisual Observatory and in IRIS 2022-3:1/15
Last year the OTT platform DAZN acquired the audiovisual rights on all the matches of the Italian Serie A Championship for the three seasons 2021-2024. This caught the attention of the Italian Communications Authority (AGCOM) that, since then, has been focusing on several issues concerning DAZN.
Specifically, by means of Resolution No. 18/22/CONS, AGCOM assessed the reliability of DAZN’s audience rating system. Audience ratings are not only relevant for advertising and future investmentment purposes, but also for the distribution of the revenues resulting from the commercialization of the Serie A Championship audiovisual rights.
With Resolution No. 194/21/CONS, AGCOM issued some guidelines on the audience rating measurement systems in the new digital eco-system, according to which audience rating measurements shall be accurate, transparent, verifiable, certified by independent parties and carried out by bodies that are sufficiently representative in their sector. AGCOM invited audience rating operators to adopt a JIC (Joint Industry Committee) governance. Of note, a JIC is a third entity representing all the subjects operating in the market, both on the demand and the supply side of the advertising communication (e.g., broadcasters and advertising agencies). Also, JICs release certifiable audience data, so they are capable of protecting the best interests of the companies investing in the advertising sector.
Following AGCOM, UPA, the Italian association of advertisers, released its guidelines on audience measurements, putting forward some standards that could help updating audience rating systems to the current market reality.
For the 2021/2022 football season, DAZN’s audience rating system released non-certified data, that exceeded the data measured by Auditel, the main audience rating company in Italy, operating under a JIC governance, by more than 50%.,
As a result, since the data measured by DAZN’s audience rating system is not certified under Italian law, AGCOM established that the audience data to be considered, for the purposes of the distribution of the revenues generated in the 2021/2022 football season, would be the data released by Auditel. In addition, for the 2022/2023 and 2023/2024 seasons, AGCOM provided that, in order to satisfy the certification requirement, audience data shall be measured by a JIC that operates on the Italian market and is able to release a “total audience data”, i.e., unambiguous, transparent and certified data referring to both TV and digital devices. However, AGCOM specified that the certification requirement could also be fulfilled by any other solution that market operators may propose to AGCOM, in compliance with the provisions set forth by Resolution No. 194/21/CONS and the UPA guidelines on audience measurement.
- UPA guidelines on audience measurement in the current digital and cross-media landscape
- Indirizzi in materia di sistemi di rilevazione degli indici di ascolto nel nuovo ecosistema digitale Guidelines for audience rating measurement systems in the new digital ecosystem
- Chiusura dell’istruttoria avviata nei confronti della società Dazn avente ad oggetto la verifica della metodologia di rilevazione degli ascolti
Closure of the investigation launched against Dazn regarding the verification of the methods used to measure audience ratings