Just days after a group of leading TV sales organizations announced what they claimed to be the first U.S. JIC – or joint industry committee – to certify the “currencies” the ad industry will use to buy advertising, the U.S. ad industry is releasing a study recommending, among other things, that it might finally be time for it to form a JIC.
The report, “Industry Perspectives On The Transition To A Multi-Currency TV Market,” which was conducted by Deloitte, was commissioned by the Association of National Advertisers (4As), the American Association of Advertising Agencies (4As) and the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), is based on months of interviews with a cross-section of industry stakeholders on both the supply and demand sides -- including both advertisers and agencies -- as well as “secondary constituents” including audience measurement suppliers and technology vendors.
The key findings are more qualitative than quantitative -- and suggest the transition is already happening at different speeds and with difference levels of engagement, with the major TV networks ranking as the most “engaged” and media agencies as the most “moderate” and “tempered,” and with advertisers ranging across that spectrum based on how they view the role of audience measurement currencies in their business models.
Another key finding is that the “most advanced currency collaboration” to date has been occurring “across constituencies (e.g., network to agency) and not within constituencies (e.g., agency to agency),” which the report notes has limited benefits to developing industry standard approaches and accelerating the transition to new market currencies.
Those two findings in particular reflect how aggressive the major TV network sales organizations have been in accelerating the development of ad-market currencies, including their own individual efforts to “certify” audience-measurement suppliers as currencies, as well as this week’s announcement by the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, and OpenAP, which is owned by the networks, to roll out a JIC.
But JICs, which commonly operate in other major media markets around the world, particularly in Europe and Asia, are generally understood to be tripartite and, if anything, controlled by the demand-side, not its suppliers.
Or as industry consultant Tony Jarvis noted in a comment on MediaPost’s coverage this week, the OpenAP initiative is a “MOC, media-owner committee, not a JIC.”
“For obvious reasons, JICs are controlled by the buy-side not the sell-side despite any funding disparities, and manage and deliver a single currency.
“JIC's often contract innovative consortiums to execute the currency to achieve optimum quality and to solve critical industry issue and technical concerns,” he also noted.
So it’s also interesting that the ARF’s CIMM unit helped organize and commission the new Deloitte study, because innovating the development of new forms of media measurement is part of its original charter, and it is now owned by the ARF, which Jarvis pointed out has already held a special meeting in January 2005 that determined JIC’s are legally feasible in the U.S. and do not violate antitrust laws, as some had previously suggested.
Complicating the ad industry’s standardization of new market currencies is further complicated by the fact that it has also been operating under self-regulatory guidelines since Congressional hearings on the TV ratings industry led to the creation of the Media Rating Council (MRC), which functions as a neutral third-party auditing and accrediting media audience measurement suppliers.
“The MRC, obviously, will have to get really involved,” Ashwini Karandikar, executive vice president of media, technology and data at the 4As told MediaPost on the eve of this morning’s announcement. She added that the study is not intended to “deliver an end formula,” but was designed to “get the conversation started.”
“One of the takeaways from the study in terms of next steps is to explore governance models, rearranging from collaborations to standards and accreditation to consensus,” Deloitte Managing Director Mike Dean added, noting, “Ideally, that consensus model is tripartite – a full industry consortia or a JIC model.”
Asked whether they viewed the supply-side’s aggressiveness in driving currencies forward, self-certifying them, announcing their own MOC, and or conducting market trials with individual advertisers and agencies was a good thing or a bad thing in terms of a more neutral industry consortia approach or JIC, Dean and Karandikar demurred, focusing instead on the report’s key finding, which Dean said is that most of the collaboration and sharing to date has been “within silos, but across constituencies.
“Meaning, between a network and an agency, but not between agencies. So in a sense, I think there is a lack of learning across the sell-side and a lack of learning across the buy-side, as a constituent group.
Dean concluded that he does see the network-driven initiatives working vertically with individual advertisers and agencies as “still positive” and “can help to set standards.
“Then those sides must come together in terms of finding common ground between standards.”
While the study does not provide any explicit outline or timeframe for the industry to get to that point, Dean indicated it would likely need to conduct more research and have more conversations to get there.
I agree with much of what is outlined here including many of Tony's comments. However, I would contest that JIC's (outside the US at least) are "buy-side led". The buy-side tends to fund from 10-40% around the world (typically tghrough their agencies). For that, they have a say in what gets measured and provide valuable checks and balances. However ultimately money talks and the TV vendors who typically cover the majority of direct investment and ultimately have the larger say in the direction of travel (when consensus cannot be reached). If JIC's were buy-side led, I am not sure we would have seen the WFA initiative and the ANA/ISBA initiatives :)
I cringe when I hear talk abput many "currencies". Clearly, the basic questions to be resolved should be about what the media is obligated to deliver and whose responsibility is involved. Many of the proposed "alternative currencies"are, in fact, measures of ad impact which should be primarily the advertisers' rsponsibility---not the sellers'. These include dwell time when atttentiveness is the metric ----not merely that the program viewer started to watch the commercial. OK, so the seller bears responsibility in the ways that the commercials are positioned and overly long breaks as these can influence the degree to which a viewer remains in the room and is attentive. But dwell time is also a function of commercial length and how interesting the message happens to be---which is not really the media sellers' responsibility.
Another example is pupil dilations and similar autonomic measures of viewer response to ad messages. Is it really the seller's job to produce more dilations? And what about sales results? Is it the seller's mandate to ensure that viewers are more convinced to buy a brand's product if they see it's commercials? Or CTRs? If an advertiser's commercial makes some offer---- or simply an invitation to visit its website--- does the seller have to promise a certain level of response and take the blame if it is not attained? In other words are these audience currencies or additional "impact" refinements that may have relevance for some buyers in certain cases---but not necessrily all buyers in all cases---meaning that they are not really "currencies" as I understand the term.
It seems to me that we are muddling around trying to appease many parties and viewpoints when the real question is how should national TV audiences be defined and measured for all "TV" ad venues. Period. Should we be placing almost total reliance on device usage and "impressions", which do not tell us who is watching.? I think not. To me the answer is obvious. We need to measure the TV "audience"---that's people---- not how many screens presented commercial or program content to an unmeasured "audience".
Andy (CEO of The Attention Council): Understood that the majority of JIC funding for any major media platform is generally from the sellers. However, in an attempt to ensure that the final approved SINGLE JIC currency methodology is neutral and not biased for any media vehicle within the platform, JIC Boards are typically, and surely should be, "controlled" by the buy side.
Ed: Such great points regarding the responsibility of the media vehicle versus the advertiser/agencies. As you intimate and I have stressed, the media vehicle is responsible for generating "contact" with the brand's defined target audience - a persons based Eyes-On or Ears-On exposure measure, not a device measure, i.e., a media currency measure. The media having achieved that "contact", it is the responsiblity of the brand's creative message to create an "impact" against that same persons based brand target audience contacted. What may be called "attention", i.e., an ad content resonance measure. So not a media currency. As research has shown, it is only the latter "impacts" that can drive outcomes. As you fully understand, there is a symbiotic relationship between achieving media "contacts" and "ad impacts" so it does indeed get complicated.
Interesting that OOH JICs worldwide, e.g., GeoPath in the US, understand this differentiation and provide persons based, Eyes-On or "Visibility Adjusted Contacts" for a wide array of target audiences as a media currency.
Downunder we run JICs on virtually all media measurement.
First, as has been pointed out, the majority of the funds are sourced from the media company. Well of course it does! A TV spot is sold for (say) $1m and the gross majority of that money stays with the media owner. Converely, a media agency buys a $1m spot and would typically earn 2% ... $20k. So that explains the 10% to 40% comment. Also don't forget that the ratings data is very often sold to third-parties especially in the media-advisory sector, government, investment companies etc.
Second, Mike Dean summed it up very well. One quibble ... it shouldn't be "ideally" it should be "essentially".
Third, the media agency has a lot of say as to what is worthwhile ... data, software, research etc. If a media or analytics business makes proposals to us, it may be "the solution to that problem hat everyone has been waiting for" but it might not be the right problem they are trying to solve. Let's call it 'impressions'. If we don't want/need what is put in front of us we won't support it (though I detect that is waning if the agency can PR it).
Finally, at the end of the day the pool of money comes from the advertiser. They need to be a lot more inclusive rather than just bemoaning what they would like. Instead they need to roll up their sleeves and to commit their best brains to get their hands very dirty in the nitty-gritty of typically monthly half-day meetings that will go on for years.
P.S. They are Aussie observations and may not apply in your market. Over the past 20+ years I have sat on all of our JICs and things run pretty smoothly and with good results that benefit all.