Whether you read our Newfronts opener or not, you know that a primary issue dragging the industry down is the lack of standardized measurement and transparency across the business. It comes as a refreshing surprise, then, that today Nielsen, in partnership with AOL, announced that significant efforts would go towards remedying the problem at hand.
Looking at the current TV system: Nielsen wraps up TV numbers with a nice shiny bow so that media buyers can buy against it, go home at night and be able to sleep at ease knowing they can “justify” billions of dollars in media buys to their bosses.
From the vantage point of a business like Nielsen, then, it’s in their best interest and that of the TV companies, especially, to preserve a system that, like it or not, may not be the best measurement of success and accurate viewing.
And that’s before you factor in social media, technology and “engagement” for online video.
Nielsen’s new push with broadcast and cable networks, including NBC, Fox, ABC, Univision, Discovery and A+E, and online platforms like AOL is a grandiose effort to shift the digital space to a GRP model.
In an interview following the Newfronts, Nielsen’s SVP of Strategic Partnerships John Burbank noted that “if you make an arbitrary choice [on measurement]” it won’t necessarily work, which is why the data company is “trying to get as granular as possible so the market can do what it does and sort these issues out.”
Ultimately, it’s not up to the Comscore’s and Nielsen’s of the world. “It’s really the market that has to decide and we’re doing our best to make the measurement as robust and as fair for everybody sot he buyer and the seller have to agree to transact on the data,” Burbank added.
The company still has to sort through a few key issues however. For instance how does social media and influence play into the overall rating? And when will companies adapt to a single metric that everyone is comfortable sharing publicly?
No doubt Nielsen’s deal with Twitter in late 2012 will help guide these decisions but at the end of the day, Nielsen is simply working to “make the data really good and to make it useful so that the ecosystem start to transact on it.”