OMeBa: Online Media Behaviour Analytics

OMeBa (Online Media Behaviour Analytics) is a project developed by CREATe in collaboration with the AHRC Creative Industries Policy & Evidence Centre (PEC) and the UK Intellectual Property Office. The project consolidates a large dataset on online consumer behaviour to explore the challenges of increasing the value of survey based studies.  A pilot data tool demonstrates how industry and policy users could derive value from interrogating the survey data directly. It is possible to analyse how online consumer behaviour has evolved year by year since 2013.

The underlying dataset is the result of repeated surveys on copyright infringement, online access and consumption behaviour in the UK, commissioned by Ofcom and the Intellectual Property Office and delivered by Kantar Media (until 2018) and AudienceNet (2019-) as part of a continuing tracking study. The online copyright infringement (OCI) tracker survey explores online behaviour, copyright infringement and digital consumption in relation to six main types of online content: music, film, TV programmes, books, videos and computer software. The surveys were originally developed as a response to the obligation on Ofcom in the Digital Economy Act 2010 to monitor copyright infringement.

The OCI Tracker Survey

You can access the original reports by Ofcom and the IPO and download the published data from each of the waves at the following links:

Wave 8: March – May 2018
Wave 7: March – May 2017
Wave 6: March – May 2016
Wave 5: March – May 2015
Wave 4: March – May 2013
Wave 3: November – January 2013
Wave 2: August – October 2012
Wave 1: May – July 2012

The findings on levels of copyright infringement are largely reconstructed from data on online consumer behaviour in general. Therefore, the surveys offer interesting behavioural insights into online consumption of creative content and cultural participation more generally.

The main challenge encountered in importing the OCI data into the OMeBa tool was posed by the changes made to the questions and variables across the various waves of the survey, with new questions and variables being added, amended or removed in certain waves, and the corresponding question identifiers (QIDs) changing inconsistently. However, core questions relating to demographics, access to and use of services, reported behaviour, and attitudes and perceptions have remained largely the same from wave 4 to wave 8, allowing longitudinal analyses in those areas. The following table summarises the areas of longitudinal investigation allowed by the OCI data.

A more detailed overview of the questions and variables that are present from wave 4 to wave 8 of the survey can be found in the slide deck The OMeBa tool: Longitudinal analyses allowed by the OCI data.

PEC Workshop and Harmonised Data

As part of the activities of PEC, on 28th June 2019 CREATe and Nesta held the workshop Investigating online cultural consumption using the Intellectual Property Office’s OCI Tracker. The workshop brought together researchers from government (including the IPO, DCMS and Ofcom), industry, and academia to explore what further research insights can be gleaned from the OCI datasets. The workshop started with a series of short presentations, which can be downloaded at the following links:

Introduction to the PEC – Hasan Bakshsi, PEC, Nesta
Online Copyright Infringement (OCI) Tracker. Building an evidence base for copyright policy – David Humphries and James Clarke, Intellectual Property Office
Wave 9 of the OCI tracker survey – Sania Haq, AudienceNet
New sources of online behavioural data – Prof. Martin Kretschmer, PEC, CREATe, University of Glasgow
The OMeBa tool: Longitudinal analyses allowed by the OCI data – Bartolomeo Meletti, PEC, CREATe, University of Glasgow
The OCI data sets: illustrative areas of investigation – Raphael Leung and John Davies, PEC, Nesta

Following these presentations, participants broke into three groups to reflect on what public bodies that own data similar to the OCI tracker can do to make it more useful for researchers; and to identify research questions that can be investigated using the OCI data. Notes from the breakout sessions can be downloaded here.

In preparation for the workshop, CREATe developed a spreadsheet which offers harmonised question IDs for the OCI data from wave 4 to 8, and which can now be used by the future suppliers of the survey to deliver the next waves of data with consistent QIDs. During the workshop, the IPO confirmed that the OCI tracker data will continue to be made available to researchers as long as the IPO collects it, and that it would look to match questions in future waves where possible to the unique identifiers table established in the spreadsheet to maximise accessibility to the data by researchers. You can download the spreadsheet offering the harmonised QIDs here.

Based on the areas of interest identified during the PEC workshop, CREATe and Nesta have produced a visualised short paper to illustrate what the OCI data indicate in terms of demographic differences between consumers and non-consumers of online content, and between infringers and non-infringers.