Top Madison Avenue Media Buyers, Roku, Join Media Giants in Bid to Certify Measurement Methods

Seven of the biggest media-buying agencies on Madison Avenue and Roku have joined a media-industry effort that aims to count TV audiences in new ways.

Dentsu, WPP’s GroupM, Horizon Media, Interpublic Group’s IPG Mediabrands, Omnicom Group’s Omnicom Media Group, Publicis Media and RPA have all lent counsel to the U.S. Joint Industry Committee, a consortium formed in January led by Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, and Warner Bros. Discovery and their Open AP joint venture that hopes to vet and certify a dizzying array of audience-measurement technologies that have come to market in recent months.  Along with Roku, Hallmark Media and the industry group Video Advertising Bureau, the companies have issued a new set of minimum requirements for acceptance of several new measurement technologies that TV networks would like to implement more quickly.

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“From the beginning, we have been clear that buyers and sellers need to work together to build a more sustainable future for premium video advertising,” said David Levy, CEO of Open AP, in a prepared statement. “We believe that if we’re going to transform the way video is measured, the buying community must have a seat at the table in defining new standards. By reaching consensus on minimum requirements within this ambitious timeline, we are together demonstrating the significance and impact of industry-wide collaboration.”

The new requirements spell out minimum standards in areas such as infrastructure, privacy, interoperability and governance that some of the new measurement currencies must embrace in order to be considered. The media companies would like to introduce the new audience-tabulation methods before 2024.

“Standardization across all measurement currencies is critical for our ability to scale a multicurrency future, and the infrastructure we create must work for both buyers and sellers. The announcement of the JIC’s initial set of requirements for cross-platform transactions is the first step toward creating a future for video advertising that reflects how people are consuming video today. We believe it will ultimately spur competition and innovation in measurement,” said Dentsu, GroupM., Horizon Media, IPG Mediabrands, Omnicom Media Group and Publicis Media, in a joint statement.

In recent months, a TV industry long measured by Nielsen has introduced a group of new vendors the networks hope will prove adept at counting digital and mobile viewing sessions. Advertisers seem willing to experiment with technologies provided by companies like iSpot, VideoAmp, ComScore and Samba. But some advertisers have balked at the prospect of having to do deals with one TV network based on one group of measurement offerings and transactions with a rival based on a different set of methodologies.

Nielsen is also in the mix. The company, long the standard for measuring TV audiences, is launching NielsenOne, a product its executives believe will be able to tabulate audiences for TV and streaming video in credible, independent fashion. Another feature: Nielsen measures aren’t delineated by a company that also sells TV advertising.

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