CBS is at an impasse when it comes to renewing its long-term contract with Nielsen-- both for its national and local TV measurement efforts, networks and TV stations.
A TV network company leaving Nielsen’s ratings ecosystem would come at a price, including abandoning long-time legacy pricing arrangements with TV advertisers.
Who would set the baseline then? Could a network or TV station marketers pay the same -- or more -- when including a new mix of other third party non-Nielsen data? How would CBS negotiate against their competitors?
CBS has already threatened to use Comscore to fill in the gaps. There is some history here. Decades ago, local TV stations could find ways to negotiate deals with TV advertisers. For instance, using Arbitron when it was in the TV measurement business.
But ponder this: What if CBS competitors also stopped with Nielsen? Maybe not all its competitors. Just NBC. What then?
Sounds crazy. Yet consider what Linda Yaccarino, chairman of advertising sales and client partnerships, NBCUniversal, has said about its issues with the big media measurement company.
If TV networks want real change, they might -- at some point -- need to push more disruption. For their part, TV marketers also want more accountability, which for them might include using more of their first-party data to make deals.
All that takes work, with NBC hard at it. The network has push its new guarantee effort, CFlight, which calculates all viewing, no matter how many days, for a specific TV advertiser’s campaign. Data that includes Nielsen, but also from other third-party research companies.
Yaccarino also staked out this ground -- in part. In 2015, she decided it wasn’t worth it for CNBC to be measured by Nielsen covering the stock market during its daytime hours. Many key market traders/business executives/followers, potential viewers of the channel, aren’t home during that time. So what was the point?
The point is the future of Nielsen’s legacy “currency,” a currency flawed, according to many, with rapidly changing TV-video consumption.
More to the point, think about new definitions -- and instability. Bitcoin, anyone?