‘Hit a wall’: Why TV advertising’s measurement currency change won’t happen in this year’s upfront cycle

For as shortly as Nielsen’s grip on the TV measurement market seems to have loosened within the final yr, the measurement supplier will probably retain its maintain on this yr’s upfront. That conclusion has grow to be increasingly obvious as TV advert consumers and sellers have waded deeper and deeper into the current discord of the varied measurement suppliers contending to be adopted as currencies.

“The forex factor, it’s form of simply hit a wall,” stated a TV community govt.

Whereas TV networks, advertisers and businesses will incorporate different measurement suppliers into their upfront offers this yr, their inclusion might be largely restricted to exams, and Nielsen’s measurements would be the forex on which upfront transactions are agreed to, based on executives at TV networks and businesses.

“We’re paying for Nielsen scores anyway, and we gained’t comply with [an alternative] forex with out having completed exams in opposition to Nielsen,” stated one company govt.

Omnicom Media Group has been taking part in exams of other currencies with a number of purchasers, “however that being stated, we’re not 100% assured that that’s what we needs to be transacting on this upfront,” stated Sharon Cullen, president of built-in funding at Omnicom Media Group’s Hearts & Science.

“I don’t assume we’ll do a number of ensures on something apart from what’s historically been completed,” stated Stacey Stewart, U.S. chief market officer at UM Worldwide. “I feel we’ll do some offers the place we have a look at different measurement or take into account different measurement as a part of the deal in a roundabout way, form or type. However I feel these might be on a client-by-client foundation with a handful of companions.”

The TV networks, in the meantime, aren’t aggressively pushing for advertisers and businesses to undertake different currencies of their upfront offers this yr. For instance, they aren’t issuing mandates that advertisers and businesses decide to utilizing non-Nielsen measurements as currencies. “It seems like 2022-23 goes to actually be one other yr of testing and studying,” stated a second TV community govt.

“Everybody desires extra well timed, correct and efficient cross-platform measurement. You possibly can’t deny that. And the business has been calling for it, and nobody has been capable of nail it down but,” stated a 3rd TV community govt.

The mess of measurement

Considerably sarcastically, measurement discrepancies kicked off the TV advert measurement shift and are actually slowing that shift. As Ad Age reported, advertisers and businesses have found disparities within the outcomes and methodologies amongst measurement suppliers. “Our analysis group was it, and each two weeks the numbers would change. You possibly can’t transact when it’s this unstable,” stated the primary TV community govt.

One other impediment is that the varied measurement suppliers are at various ranges of interoperability with TV consumers’ and sellers’ advert tech stacks, stated a fourth TV community govt. “They should do some work to get the information buildings in place to truly work seamlessly within consumers’ and sellers’ advert tech stacks. That’s an necessary factor,” this govt stated.

For essentially the most half, TV community and company executives appear to be collectively respiratory a sigh of reduction that the choice measurements aren’t able to be adopted as currencies en masse on this yr’s upfront. Each side are nonetheless working underneath the belief that the TV advert market will transfer from a single-currency period to a multi-currency one — finally. Nonetheless, they’re taking care to not rush it. There’s nonetheless a number of work to be completed, inquiries to be answered and billions of {dollars} at stake. 

“It’s not like let’s bounce into the deep finish with out having completed our due diligence. We really feel that there’s a number of work to verify on the validity, the validation and the place are the outages,” stated Cullen.

“My query with all of these things is who’s paying for all of this? If {the marketplace} involves us with 20 totally different flavors [of measurement], who pays for it?” stated the second TV community govt.

“The economics are big… As an company, I’m going to subscribe to Comscore, iSpot, VideoAmp and Nielsen?,” stated a second company govt. “So there’s a number of financial elements that fall into play. And it’s extra complicated than simply how are purchaser and vendor going to transact. How does that match into the planning and the combination modeling and all of this stuff? That’s the complexity that should change, which it would, however it wasn’t going to alter within the timeline earlier than this upfront.”

“I actually need to take this yr and study as a result of there’s a number of complexity. How secure is the information? Can we challenge off of the information? How does it to purchasers’ [marketing mix models] after which shopper targets? We want a number of solutions. Are these measurement options scalable? Plenty of them proper now are very guide to handle. We have to determine all of these solutions earlier than we make a mass change,” stated Stewart.

To that finish, business teams the American Affiliation of Promoting Companies, the Affiliation of Nationwide Advertisers and the Coalition for Revolutionary Media Measurement are about to embark on a examine of the multi-currency TV advert market that may entail interviews with advertisers, businesses, publishers, tech suppliers and measurement firms. Nonetheless, the examine is unlikely to be finalized earlier than this yr’s upfront offers are signed. “The hope is for us to have the ability to consolidate and cumulate the findings and launch [the study] across the August-September timeframe,” stated Ashwini Karandikar, evp of media, tech and information on the 4A’s.

Backdoor currencies

To be clear, none of that is to say that there gained’t be upfront offers transacted in opposition to non-Nielsen measurements within the upcoming upfront cycle. Horizon Media, for instance, has stated that it plans to use alternative currencies for up to 15% of the upfront deals the media company will signal this yr. And there’s a risk that upfront offers that originally tab Nielsen because the forex shift in the course of the offers’ lifecycle to utilizing another measurement supplier, based on the fourth TV community govt. 

“That’s what I feel goes to occur all through the course of this yr. As we get higher at this, you’ll see extra advertisers need to wade in. These advertisers have already got X million greenback upfront commitments with us; they’ll use a few of these to work off the dedication by way of different forex,” the fourth TV community govt stated.

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