If there was any doubt as to what tops the television industry’s agenda, consider the number 16.
That’s how many different initiatives are currently underway to find the industry’s Holy Grail: true cross-platform measurement.
Actually, that may be only part of the total. Globally, and perhaps even in the U.S., there are undoubtedly more research programs examining some component of this complex question.
The World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) has a major cross-media measurement initiative underway. Its Framework for Cross-Media Measurement is bringing global marketers together to create principles for cross-media measurement. WFA’s Technical Blueprint for Cross-Media Measurement program has engineers from big technology firms designing a solution for sharing ad impressions data in a privacy-compliant way.
The Association of National Advertisers is planning a U.S. pilot test of the WFA principles, with the inclusion of a method to incorporate all the different measures of TV/premium video advertising. Incorporated Society of British Advertisers is working on a similar initiative in the U.K., as are marketer-led trade bodies in other countries.
The Media Rating Council has three programs, including the recent establishment of cross-media measurement standards. The Interactive Advertising Bureaus has at least two related initiatives: Project “Rearc,” which aims to “rearchitect the internet” by finding replacement(s) for the cookie; and the Tele://Vision Initiative, examining industry initiatives around workflow automation, measurement, and terms and conditions.
CIMM’s current research ranges from TV attribution best practices to methodology for combining smart TV and set-top-box data to establishing advertising metadata standards and designing approaches to TV data interoperability and ID resolution across all TV/premium video ad inventory.
And this isn’t even describing the initiatives that are proprietary to a single company or consortium.
With so many initiatives, you get the idea that the industry really wants to solve cross-platform measurement. In the end, of course, all these organizations and companies want to be the entity to say they did so and in the process develop a proprietary solution, tailor made for their constituency and audience. And that’s the way it should be.
But couldn’t we all get to our respective goals much faster by working in collaboration with each other? That's not to say all initiatives need to be brought under one umbrella, which isn’t possible in an industry with many interests to serve.
Changing the TV industry to a new data-driven, cross-platform measurement system will be incredibly complex and technical, to say nothing of the business considerations. But the sharing of knowledge, insights and understanding could help each individual entity and association reach their objective sooner. Certainly there's much each organization is learning that can benefit others and help advance overall knowledge and understanding.
Ultimately, whatever approach, methodology and technology is utilized, all will have to adopt at least some form of it to ensure it's truly cross-platform. It’s best for all of us to align and work together now to make that reality come about sooner.
Not to do so just doesn’t add up.
Agreed, Jane. But it's vital that whatever measurement that is developed must be both practical to execute as well as focused on "viewing" ---not merely that the device is displaying editorial content---or ads---on its screen. The danger is that we may fall into the trap of expediency. Device usage data is universally available whereas eyes-on-screen measurements ---while possible for in-home TV may not be easily aplied to out-of-home TV as well as digital platforms in any location. This could lead us, in our haste to develop something, to postpone the quest for meaningful "viewing" information and go the easier route---device usage. In which case we will be faced with all sorts of contradictions and difficulties in interpreting the data.
Cross-media measurement and selling is by no means a simple task. And Jane is correct about the disparate efforts going on to solve cross-platform measurement. It does feel like there are 16 chili contests and the contestants have years to submit their dish. Each submission has multiple cooks and each contest will declare their winner to be the world champ. Meanwhile the smart ones aren’t waiting for multiple recipes.
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