Simulmedia's Happy Hour Salons

There are a number of excellent industry get-togethers, but there is only one I can think of that blends the actual happy hour with the program itself: Simulmedia’s Happy Hour Salon. This provocative monthly speaker series gives media and tech people the chance to mingle and share opinions on a trending industry hot topic, all over a pint of beer or a glass of wine.

I sat down with Simulmedia CEO Dave Morgan to talk about the salon. The resulting video of the discussion can be viewed in its entirety here.

Morgan believes that there is inevitable change coming into the industry that can be framed and guided by active, engaged thought leaders. By providing a place for the exchange of ideas, Simulmedia hopes to spur discussion and help move progressive change forward.

This salon series is relatively new, but past speakers have included a range of experts, from author Eric Asimov discussing wine to Nielsen’s Steve Hasker and Optimedia’s Maureen Bosetti discussing the changing media landscape.



In fact, Steve Hasker spoke frankly about Nielsen’s strengths and weaknesses. According to Hasker, the Nielsen panel wasn’t working because the market has changed. When the panel was first created, television was a “must have” and there was no need for television executives to seek ROI. Now both buyers and sellers come to Nielsen for help in optimizing their media mix. While stating that Nielsen is the center of the media trade currency, he also admitted that there are times when Nielsen gets things wrong and that some of its products are not up to snuff. Still, he asserted, “We get fewer things wrong every day.” To those who know Nielsen, this refreshing piece of humility led some to say that this was the most “un-Nielsen Nielsen talk” they had ever heard, according to Dave Morgan.

According to Bosetti, digital advertising has brought more accountability to the marketplace, which places more pressure on television to become more accountable, too.  Agencies must become less siloed and more involved in social media metrics and measurement that help to ascertain ROI. Her wish list includes better cross-platform analytics and metrics, perhaps a seamless measurement of reach across all platforms, and consistent measurement as the industry continues to fragment. She summed it up by saying, “the future of media is 'Math Men,' not 'Mad Men.'” I agree.

An investor panel in January included Brad Burnham of Union Square Ventures, Linda Gridley of Gridley & Company, Sheila Spence of WPP Group and Tim Spengler of Magna Global. They spoke about innovating the future of media and advertising, stressing the value of companies that provide an emotional experience. But the measurement sector is still fairly static. Their conclusion: Even though Nielsen has more challenges to its business model than usual, there is still no other company in the marketplace that can match it at the individual level. The group predicted tremendous disruption in the next 18 months -- especially in the payment sector, as digital wallets continue to innovate.

These salons tend to be digital-centric, according to Morgan, but there are enough participants in the television, agency, supplier, pundit and analyst side to make for a rich experience.

The salon is by invitation only, but it is easy to get on the list by emailing

6 comments about "Simulmedia's Happy Hour Salons".
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  1. John Grono from GAP Research, March 13, 2013 at 5:07 p.m.

    Good post Charlene. Glad you liked Steve Hasker's candid Aussie approach. We like to call it as we see it, and I think you'd be pleasantly surprised as to some of the cool audience measurement things we're doing down under.

  2. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, March 15, 2013 at 9:44 a.m.

    Hi John, I would love to know more about audience measurement applications that you are doing in Australia. Are you using STB data as any standard?

  3. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, March 15, 2013 at 9:44 a.m.

    And thank you for your comment!

  4. John Grono from GAP Research, March 15, 2013 at 6:15 p.m.

    Thanks Charlene. We have a system that uses STB data with a demographic 'overlay' (i.e. the household tuning is imputed to demographic data) but it is bespoke to the Subscription TV industry (i.e. it is not 'currency'). We are running a convergence panel within the TV currency and the data 'stands beside' the currency. Its purpose is to look at shifts in usage levels (to video on a computer rather than video via IPTV) rather than at an individual programme level because its quantum is still relatively low ... but there will be a tipping point at some time in the future. Our ratings company has just conducted a small test (sort of like 'quantitative' ethnographic research) in which metered homes leaving the panel were given an iPad and asked to log its usage, allowing longitudinal analysis of the iPad's impact on TV-set viewing. And that's just TV. We're about to release a new readership system, have revamped our circulation rules to cater for digital copies, will be changing radio measurement for the start of 2014, lauched the MOVE OOH system three years ago, launched the hybrid online audience measurement almost two years ago and are working on the mobile/tablet challenges, and have a new CineTAM service due for launch in 2013 which will provide week-after admissions data by demographic. Apart from that we're just kicking back beside the pool with a beer in hand. Cheers.

  5. Charlene Weisler from Writer, Media Consultant:, March 17, 2013 at 5:12 p.m.

    Thanks John. It sounds exciting. What is considered the currency? Nielsen?

  6. John Grono from GAP Research, March 17, 2013 at 5:33 p.m.

    For TV the 'currency' is OzTAM for Metropolitan TV and for National Subscription TV, and RegTAM for Regional TV. That is, they are the 'owners' and financial backers of the ratings, which are then made commercially available to media agencies and advertisers. Both bodies contract NielsenTAM to conduct the TV ratings. Both bodies operate in a JIC-like environment whereby there is a Technical Committee that reviews and helps develop the ratings. The Technical Committees comprise FTA broadcasters (commercial and public), subscription TV, media agencies, advertisers and an indepent auditor. We're very much closer to the British model with a few local tweaks added.

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