Over the years, I've covered a number of controversial shifts in the methods used to establish the value of media currency. But I’m confused about the one currently growing around the video marketplace’s shift to a duration-weighted impression.
I understand that people don’t like change, but the reality is that change is constant. The duration-weighted impression is an ingenious solution for managing a fundamental change that's already taken place in the marketplace: the fragmentation of video advertising and its distribution across screens.
The solution gives people on both sides of the marketplace a simple common denominator that both buyers and sellers can use to assign value to a video advertising impression. That’s all it is, a denomination.
It’s up to the marketplace to determine what the value of those impressions are, and that happens through a variety of processes that influence demand: research, perceptions, selling, etc.
In other words, the duration-weighted impression enables the ad industry to size the supply of video advertising inventory based on an equal common denominator, so that the supply and buy sides can haggle and influence each other about the values assigned.
It is not, as some might fear, a means of commoditizing video ad inventory. It’s just the denominator. The value comes from how it's numerated.
And that’s exactly how the Media Rating Council conceived it.
The next phase, says Media Rating Council CEO and Executive Director George Ivie, is to begin creating the means for the industry to fairly and equitably begin assigning value to those units of exchange.
If you ask me, that’s where the real controversy should begin -- not with the duration-weighted impression, or common denominator -- but how value is assigned to it, because that’s where the winners and losers will be determined.
In fact, one of the reasons why the MRC delayed the implementation of duration-weighted impressions until 2021 is that it hopes to have those value systems in place so that they can roll out concurrently.
I wish them good luck, because if creating a common denominator proved to be controversial, establishing a means of valuing it could prove even worse.
Ultimately, marketplaces find their own symmetry based on a combination of factors, including market data, research, and analytics. Beyond that, it’s all about perceived value, and that’s where selling and spin come in.