When you think of a Good Housekeeping seal in the media industry, it’s probably a Media Rating Council accreditation. There is arguably no greater source of expertise in evaluating metrics and analytics for use in media measurement.
Leading that effort is the MRC’s CEO, George Ivie, who has recently renewed his contract with the organization for another five years.
Charlene Weisler: When did you start at the MRC? What are your greatest accomplishments so far?
George Ivie: I started as MRC CEO, executive director on Jan. 1, 2000, but all told, I’ve been working with MRC as an auditor and in MRC leadership since the early 1980s.
Probably my most significant accomplishment is to move the MRC into a focus on digital measurement and digitalization, first through development of expertise within our organization, but later through development of standards and follow-through with audits and validation work at dozens of measurement services.
The group of standards MRC has promulgated, such as measurement of digital impressions, viewable impressions, clicks, invalid traffic and fraud filtration, digital audience measurement, ad verification, and the totality of out-of-home measurement as well as outcome measurement, have collectively added structure, terminology, disclosure requirements and best practice guidance that in some cases the entire world is using.
This has been a very significant accomplishment for me as CEO, but really attributable to the staff of the MRC as well as our membership leaders.
Notably, this body of work has impacted all measurement organizations, not just those that one would think of as “digital” measurement organizations or platforms. Digitalization, data quality and machine learning, modeling and modeling bias, etc. are areas that impact almost all of our audited enterprises whether they are legacy measurers, digital measurers, ad verification, digital platforms, etc.
Other accomplishments include: (1) greatly expanding number and diversity of both the MRC membership and the audits we conduct, (2) re-establishing the recognition of our industry self-regulatory role with the U.S. government as well as updating our status with the US Department of Justice, and (3) continuing to improve on the recognition of the neutrality, expertise, reputation and influence of MRC within the US and abroad.
Weisler: What do you hope to accomplish in the next two years?
Ivie: We have a full list: Bring accreditation back to television measurement among available measurers, considering new techniques evolving to capture all audience usage as well as improving the stability of measurements. Move forward and build audits and general industry compliance for the SSAI, CTV and in-game guidance we have produced. Establish an entirely new area of accreditation centered on outcome measurement: specifically outcome metrics, transparency, attribution and data quality.
Continue to make progress on digital platforms audits with the penetration of our audits among the platforms and our four audit goals of impressions, IVT, audience measurement and brand safety (soon adding outcomes metrics). Consider privacy and privacy-driven changes across our measurement standards and audits. Finally, ensure the marketplace continues to view representation of all types of Americans within research as a critical quality attribute.
Weisler: What are the biggest challenges to the media industry, and how can the MRC address them?
Ivie: We will focus on assimilating consumer changes, measurement methods changes and technology changes while considering the importance of these changes, and properly valuing those in the context of measurement and commerce.
We will also be assessing new (or newly prominent) entrants in the measurement space and bringing the light of MRC’s independent 3rd party audit and validation process to those services as the marketplace begins to place reliance on them. We will be adjusting measurement to reflect privacy requirements, maintaining fair and representative measurement and bringing outcomes into validation, auditing and accreditation, giving the increasing prominence outcomes in evaluation of advertising.
Weisler: What are the biggest opportunities in media, and how can the MRC facilitate them?
Ivie: The critical big-picture areas include aligning our industry’s work with important consumer preferences, ensuring research is consumer centric, complete and representative. We also strive to keep measurement transparent and validated while being responsive to necessary changes like the increasing granularity of data needs, etc. We also want to promote cross-media measurement and views of the consumer while being privacy-safe and compliant.