Testing: Industry Wants Cross-Platform Metrics For Video

A new cross-platform video identification system is being readied for testing at the start of the 2012-13 fall season. 

The upcoming test of the system, known as TAXI (Trackable Asset  Cross-Platform Identifier) was disclosed at a meeting in New York Tuesday put together by the Coalition For Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), the Association of National Advertisers (ANA), the Advertising Research Foundation (ARF) and the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As). The meeting attracted several hundred attendees.

The focus of the meeting was the difficulty that the industry is having accurately measuring video content as it migrates across a growing array of devices and channels, including TV, online, tablets, smartphones and video-on-demand systems.

The TAXI project is being spearheaded by Ernst & Young, with funding from CIMM, the 4As and the ANA. 

David Kohl, advertising lead, Media & Entertainment Advisory Practice, Ernst & Young, described TAXI as a UPC Code-type system that keeps track of programming and advertising content as they migrate across different viewing platforms. 



One of the issues with current content identification systems, said Kohl, is that programs and ads are usually embedded with different identifiers for each platform. Thus, a broadcast network show will have one ID code for its broadcast run, another if it is licensed to Hulu and additional codes for cable VOD, the iPad, etc.  The problem is, said Kohl, “they don’t talk to each other, and it’s created a big mess.”

That mess, as Kohl puts it, has prevented ad agencies from tracking the most effective ad platforms and has inhibited networks from licensing content libraries for fear that they will undervalue the programs in the marketplace. “One simple standard is the way” to overcome many of the current problems, he said. 

The full lineup of companies taking part in the test is yet to be determined, said Kohl, adding that he is looking for greater industry participation. 

Others at the meeting stressed that the industry must make better measurement a top priority. Nancy Hill, president of the 4As, said that agencies are under huge profit-margin pressure and that better tools for measuring cross-platform viewing are of “the utmost importance to reduce costs.”

“Here we are in the digital age,” added ARF president Bob Barocci, “and what we don’t know seems to outweigh what we do know.” The rapid development of new platforms and devices, he said, has pretty much obliterated what was once an “orderly process with defined metrics.” The industry needs a “uniform process,” and one that is built to digital-age specifications and not reliant on traditional mass media exposure metrics.

Patti Wakeling, global media insights director at Unilever, agreed. She said current tools are not adequate for measuring the way people view content, often focusing on numerous devices simultaneously: the TV, a computer, smartphone or tablet. She concluded that marketers have an “inability to plan, prep, measure and monetize assets across the media landscape.”

There are many questions and answers that brands have about media, Wakeling said -- such as the differences in ROI between phones, gaming, tablets and other online activities. Or the differences in effectiveness levels between various ad formats, such as display with embedded video versus pre-roll ads.

1 comment about "Testing: Industry Wants Cross-Platform Metrics For Video ".
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  1. Harold Geller from Ad-ID LLC, February 15, 2012 at 10:05 p.m.

    Steve, as CIMM stated this afternoon, TAXI is a research initiative, not a new system system.

    A more complete description of the acronym is, the Advertising, Media and Entertainment verticals need to uniquely identify and describe assets in order to track them across multiple platforms, and the uses of this data need to be highlighted, and promoted.

    In fact, the proof of concept outlined by CIMM this afternoon clearly stated that it will use "existing asset registries" Ad-ID for Ads, and EIDR (Entertainment Identifier Registry) for entertainment assets.

    Ad-ID, and EIDR are supportive, and active participants in this research initiative.

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