Here are some of my takeaways from the conference:
Data is moving out of the research department — into sales. This is not what all the panelists said, but it was the leitmotif of this and other conferences on media: Data is being pulled out of the research function and moved either into siloed departments reporting to the same C-level executive, or moved under sales.
What I thought would be a renaissance for research seems to be turning into a new level of purgatory, as it moves more and more into the background. In my opinion, data without research-applied analytics is worthless.
Is it time for a JIC (joint industry committee)? This is arguably one of the most controversial and legally risky ideas in our business. But that does not mean that others are not talking about forming an industry-wide group to discuss things like standardization, edit rules and metrics. In a common-interest group, all would participate, so the issues of anti-competitiveness or antitrust should be moot.
Linda Yaccarino -- NBCUniversal’s chairman, advertising sales and client partnerships -- fired the first public volley in this battle by asking, “How do we come together as an industry to better measure our product? It has to be more intuitive, and we’ve got to get to a place with a uniform currency. The good thing about Nielsen is that it has decades of experience but it is largely self-reported. We need to come together and coalesce as an industry.” Boom.
Standardization of metrics is pivotal. The standardization and creation of common metrics came up on practically every panel. As Yaccarino explained, “We have to have a common currency and have to measure the efficacy and value of the consumer experience.”
When asked what the greatest impediment to the adoption of TV programmatic was, Brent Gaskamp, senior vice president, corporate development, N.A., Videology, replied: “No standard metrics.” Shereta Williams, president, Videa, concluded that “measurement has to get better, especially cross-platform measurement.” But even if we were to all agree, nothing is easy. Frank Foster, senior vice president/general manager, TiVo Research, added a new wrinkle. He explained: “We currently don't have stewardship systems that can handle the new metrics.”
Will bigger networks with higher ratings continue to dominate? The answer is “not necessarily,” but it depends whom you ask. For Johnathan Bokor, senior vice president/director of advanced media at Mediavest, “we built a system over the past 75 years where big nets and big ratings get the most money. But as you move to an addressable-based paradigm, this type of spending needs to be justified… Large networks will need to prove that they are worth the premium money.” But Lance Neuhauser, CEO of 4C, countered, “the small guys will still have to figure out a way to prove its value.”
The media landscape continues to shift. Definitions of programmatic, advanced advertising and addressable advertising continue to merge. But some things are eternal: Make it easy to implement and bring value through the sales funnel. Marianne Gambelli, executive vice president, chief investment officer at Horizon, summed it up when she said: “I want research across all media to unlock better value that we can't get our arms around manually.”