WPP CEO Martin Sorrell told analysts on a Wednesday morning conference call that he’d like to see Rentrak and comScore “come together” to devise a solution for what Sorrell described as the “faulty measurement” for media that exists in the U.S. WPP has made investments in both those companies.
Asked if he meant that the two media research companies should merge to create a new business entity, Sorrell replied that he would “welcome cooperation of any nature” by the companies to address U.S. media measurement — particularly online video measurement, whose value is being increasingly questioned by clients. Marketers are worried about viewability levels and related standards and verification issues, Sorrell said.
Sorrell added that the current two-second viewability standard is “pretty ludicrous,” and that some clients are rolling back their commitments to online video because they can’t justify the investments based on current measurement and verification standards.
There is “great concern” among clients, Sorrell said. “The value from online video is becoming more and more questionable,” he said. While lack of adequate measurement is restricting the growth of the medium, Sorrell did not mention by name advertisers who have cut back their spending. But he did say that both Google and Facebook “have work to do” in making their case to clients about the value of online video.
Irwin Gotlieb, CEO of WPP media management arm GroupM, who was also on the call with analysts, added that TV measurement could also stand improvement. "TV is being damaged in its perception by poor measurement," he said.
Neither executive specifically mentioned Nielsen, the primary media measurement company in the U.S. although it was pretty clear that the criticism was being directed at that firm. Sorrell noted that Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman has been a vocal critic of the accuracy of audience measurement of Viacom's various networks. "He's right," Sorrell said.