Online GRPs Inevitable as Digital Video Standard, Analyst Says

Nielsen’s online GRPs have a whiff of the inescapable to them.

That’s the conclusion of Pivotal Research Senior Research Analyst Brian Wieser, who said in his just-released Madison & Wall report that Nielsen’s foray into cross-platform ratings for online and TV is likely to become the measurement norm. “Our conversations with industry participants have affirmed to us that cross-platform campaign ratings as produced by Nielsen are inevitably set to become a new industry standard for negotiations between buyers and sellers sooner rather than later,” he wrote.

That’s because TV buyers, who control the biggest media budgets, have been held back in online video spending by the previous lack of standards. Not anymore. Now, that online GRPs are primed and in the market, TV buyers can more easily loop in online video into TV buys.

But ease is not the only reason the online GRP is ready to become the default. “This inevitability is due to the ongoing growth in consumption of online video,” Wieser wrote. In his analysis of Nielsen data on online video viewing, he concluded that 1.1 billion hours were spent watching digital video in August representing a 50% rise year over year.



Other big voices in the ad and media market have spoken out about the prospect of a Nielsen video standard, with ZenithOptimedia noting in its recent outlook that Nielsen, as well as comScore, had gained traction in the market in delivering a standard measurement tool. In fact, late last month, the CW said it would rely on Nielsen’s cross-platform ratings for its online and digital video campaigns. That followed news that 15 online and digital networks had adopted usage too, but the TV network sign-on is the most vital one, because it signifies that the standard is being embraced in the TV world and that’s where the metric needs to be used if it’s to become the norm.

But all eyes will be on YouTube’s moves via online GRPs, Wieser said. YouTube accounted for 652 million hours of viewing in August, which would place it as the 7th most watched TV channel that month, Wieser said.

“Traditional networks should still benefit from cross-platform ratings if they have more flexibility in providing advertisers with inventory via the web as well as on traditional TV and VOD,” he wrote. “On that basis alone we would expect modest spending share shifts between networks. However, as Google continues to invest in original content for YouTube, the content will be deemed acceptable by the large advertisers that drive traditional TV spending. To the extent that the industry's currency includes YouTube on a footing that is equal to traditional TV, YouTube will increasingly be able to call itself the country's 7th network, and place itself on a solid footing to capture real TV dollars into the future.”

Will YouTube adopt online GRPs? And will their usage truly shepherd in more dollars?

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