CANNES, FRANCE--There is an uprising bubbling from the French Riviera as media buyers say the industry has finally reached a tipping point in demands for improved techniques for measuring audiences for video content across different channels.
Omnicom Media Group (OMG) went "office to office and exposed every single client team" to newer solutions to compete against legacy providers comScore and Nielsen, said Jonathan Steuer, chief research officer, Omnicom Media Group, during a panel discussion Cannes on Wednesday. "We said to them if they don't start buying TV in a different way, you will have challenges."
At last count, 31 OMG clients have expressed interest in these newer cross-measurement services and 13 are currently moving forward to implement them, says Steuer. "Now, clients are starting to bake us into their strategy. You can spend less or spend more doing it the same way."
“OMG has clients telling us they know viewers are watching TV in different ways and we need to catch up,”says Steuer.
To assist in the catch-up effort, OMG hired a high-level network executive to join its media-planning team. Networks, in fact, have always been ahead of this conversation. ESPN, for one, has been at the forefront in tracking audiences across multiple screens.
Last week a coalition of agencies -- IPG/MAGNA, Publicis Media, OMG, GroupM, Dentsu Aegis Network, Havas, and Horizon Media -- joined to form a new agency advisory committee under Project OAR.
This team follows the organization's launch in March 2019 by mostly network-affiliated founding members: DisneyMedia Networks, Comcast’s FreeWheel and NBCUniversal, Discovery, CBS, AT&T’s Xandr and WarnerMedia’s Turner, Hearst Television and AMC Networks. Fox joined OAR last week.
Both networks and media agencies express frustration over the slow unification of measurement methodologies among the many measurement startups. "The data plumbing isn't standardized," says Steuer.
The seller networks each have their own audience-based products that play only “somewhat nicely together,” he says. The industry needs a tool measuring across all of the networks and their platforms, he added.
Adoption is also impacted by category. CPG, for example, is more challenging because getting full-market purchase data is tricky and not worth the expense, says Steuer.
But for the most part, advanced measurement works everywhere, he believes. McDonald's is leaning toward it in a big way, says Steuer. You won't be able to customize your cheeseburger based on viewing habits, but the restaurant chain wants insights to reach different customers throughout the day.
"It is super frustrating," says Jodie McAfee, senior vice president sales and marketing at Vizio's Inscape, during a conversation after the panel. He said ratings providers continue to distribute flawed and outdated data points. "Everyone knows change needs to happen, but it isn't happening fast enough," he says.
Companies like Nielsen and comScore are helping to increase the "fatigue" thanks to internal missteps.
Nielsen, for its part, was locked in a "contractual impasse" with CBS over rising rates in January, while comScore has experienced turmoil among its executive ranks. Still, most of the frustration is focused on Nielsen, particularly since 60% of media spend remains committed to this company. "Change is hard and expensive," says McAfee.