ARF's Acquisition Of CIMM Adds 'Innovation Incubator' To Its Research Role

Dr. Scott McDonald, President-CEO of ARF, and Jane Clarke, CEO-MD of CIMM, are enthusiastic about their close collaboration in developing “open source/open standards” tools and techniques to move a challenging media research arena forward, primarily in the areas of planning, activation and attribution.  

That follows ARF's acquisition of CIMM, which will be run as a separate entity. The move was announced in MediaPost's Media Daily News October 17.

With this move, ARF will establish a broader, scientific but more pragmatic basis to support industry advertising and marketing research needs. This union will also help address the lag between innovative new approaches to media measurement and media’s exponential digital development across platforms. Such lags make measurements increasingly complex and prohibitively costly when producing currency and cross-platform data of the highest quality.



CIMM moves to the ARF Offices next month and becomes a not-for-profit subsidiary within ARF, known as the “ARF Innovation Studio.”

However, it will remain branded as “CIMM” to eliminate any confusion. Membership in each organization will be mutually exclusive, with advantages belonging to both organizations.

Clarke noted: “Membership of the CIMM subsidiary will be opened up significantly as it will no longer be funded as an LCC by the "owner members" of CIMM. There will be two levels of membership: The Steering Group, which will establish project priorities and select research partners, and the general membership. All the LLC 'owner members' of CIMM were also members of ARF, which made establishing the new structure easier and more complicated at the same time!

"With this new structural change, CIMM in parallel with ARF will become a fully multipartite and will allow research vendors, who often become research innovation project partners, to become members. This always raises “fox in the hen house” concerns. Jane and Dr. Scott noted that both operations are nonprofits.

"Consequently, all members must be treated fairly and equally;  there will be, strict conflict of interest procedures put in place along with required member confidentiality regarding specific initiatives.”

When reminded of industry organization cases where this concern has become or is valid, and the current trend to “misrepresent” the facts and/or positions (the Susan Collins flip!), they both appeared confident that processes and procedures to address such concerns are in place.

They also emphasized their goal of striving to strengthen their organizations as the “UN of the media and marketing research ecosystem” with no one membership category — advertisers, agencies, media or research vendors — having control.  

“Drive collaboration for the overall best interests of the industry,” per Dr. McDonald.

CIMM has a proven record of building partnerships with research vendors on major initiatives and subsequently sharing the knowledge produced to the industry at large, except for intellectual property of the vendor.

As to its focus on TV/video and digital, the creative measurement arena could be added to the CIMM agenda in the near future, an area that has been increasingly explored by ARF.

This industry consolidation continues the re-invigoration of ARF under Dr. McDonald and addresses member consensus on seven areas of focus. It gives CIMM's Clarke and her members broader, more efficient and  focused industry support in delivering leadership in research innovation.  

ARF will continue to deliver big-picture, theoretical, academic and objective science, including original research. CIMM will continue to develop pragmatic research tools. This posits a positive and welcome development for the advertising and media research industries.

Further details of this acquisition can be found here.  

1 comment about "ARF's Acquisition Of CIMM Adds 'Innovation Incubator' To Its Research Role".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, October 22, 2018 at 10:59 a.m.

    I agree, Tony. This seems like a very positive development and we can, no doubt, expect a series of informative and objective reports on important matters from CIMM which are badly needed.

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