The Media Rating Council (MRC) Thursday sent letters to its advertiser, agency and media industry members to state its position and reaffirm its industry role in response to questions about a sell-side initiative to organize an industry JIC, or joint industry committee, that would help develop and certify new "currencies" that are the basis of TV and cross-media advertising buys.
"Over the last couple of weeks the MRC has received numerous inquiries from our members and others requesting our perspective on the recently announced formation of a premium video 'JIC,' with the participation of the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) and OpenAP," MRC CEO and Executive Director George Ivie writes in the statement, a copy of which was obtained by MediaPost.
Ivie goes on to note that the MRC "welcomes and encourages" all segments of the industry -- including those espousing to form a JIC -- to be engaged in the "assessment" of audience measurement services, including ones that "serve as the basis for advertising buying, planning and post-evaluation," but adds that the council views them as supplemental to and "cannot replace the MRC's accreditation process."
The statement, which goes on to make more detailed points about the granular nature of the work that the MRC conducts -- including the development of research standards, independent audits of audience measurement services, and ultimately determining whether to accredit them or not -- raises questions about who and what entity ultimately would be the final authority in audience measurement should a genuine JIC become fully operational in the U.S.
While the role of JICs varies in markets where they exist around the world, no other market has a history and legacy like the U.S., in which Congressional hearings led to a Justice Department consent decree forming an independent self-regulatory body -- the MRC -- to ensure that audience measurement suppliers meet certain minimum industry standards.
The so-called JIC initiative being pushed by network-owned OpenAP, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), and big TV-centric media companies including Fox Corp., NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery, technically would be more accurately characterized as a MOC, or media owner committee, but it could evolve into a genuine JIC assuming an equitable representation of advertisers and agencies become a part of it.
The MOC has invited agency representatives to join, and several media agency Chief Investment Officers are slated to participate in a panel discussion about its progress at NBCU's One23 developers conference Feb. 8 in New York City.
To help explain the differences among the entities and organizations referenced in this article, MediaPost asked ChatGPT to answer two questions pasted below.
MediaPost: Explain the difference between a JIC (joint industry committee) and a MOC (media owner committee) in the advertising industry.
MediaPost: Explain the different roles a JIC (joint industry committee) and the Media Rating Council (MRC) should play in the U.S. advertising marketplace:
I agree completely with George. Indeed, should a real JIC ever develop the MRC would be an integral part of the research service's vetting process. One point, though. This does not mean that the MRC determines what metrics should be used---attentiveness, "impressions" pupil dilations, CTRs, etc------that's between the sellers and buyers. Also, when the MRC accredits a "rating" service that does not mean that it is certifying the findings as "accurate" as the layman undestands the term. Unless it has changed, the MRC's mandate is to determine that the research company is actually doing what it claims to be doing and that its operation is following accepted research practice. That's a hard enough job for anyone to tackle and it's why we need the MRC.
I totally agree Ed. Oh, and ChatGTP has provided a great summary.
In AU we have an auditor for most media. As you said Ed, the auditor 'ticks the box' that the data sources are robust, that the application of that data in the processing system is correct, and that the results are then reported correctly (mainly the description of what the reported result means).
When the JIC feels that new or changed metrics could be of assistance, the auditor is usually consulted at that stage. We don't have an over-arching body that assesses all the media to be reported in a cross-media measurement system.