'JIC' Opens On 'Weaponized' Note, Paramount's Halley Slams Nielsen

Following back-to-back salvos from Nielsen and Comscore earlier in the day, the fledgling U.S. “JIC” opened its upfront-style event Thursday afternoon on an escalatory note, with one opening panelists describing their moves in explicitly war-like terms.

“In my mind, it is sort of weaponizing the MRC. There’s no other way to look at it,” Paramount’s President of Advertising John Halley said in reference to Nielsen’s and Comscore’s statements endorsing Media Rating Council accreditation as a requisite for being a trading currency.

“Saying that JIC certification should require MRC accreditation just doesn’t really make sense,” Halley added during the opening panel that kicked off the event.

The JIC, which was organized by networks-owned OpenAP and the Video Advertising Bureau, has said it is not competing with the MRC, which has been the advertising and media industry’s de facto self-regulatory body accrediting market currencies for half a century -- and that it was created to “certify,” not accredit new multiple currencies as part of the industry’s shift to “Big Data”-based measurement systems.



Interestingly, the JIC’s baseline requirements do say that potential new currencies “should seek MRC accreditation,” but do not actually require it.

Paramount’s Halley noted that Nielsen historically has “put multiple products in the market without MRC accreditation” and that its fledgling Nielsen One “panel-plus Big Data” service is not yet accredited, although it is under MRC review.

Early on Thursday, Nielsen -- and then Comscore -- issued statements to clients endorsing that potential new currencies be audited and ultimately accredited by the MRC.

Currently, none of the new multi-currency rivals are even in the MRC auditing process.

Paramount’s Halley, and others on the panel, described the JIC as being focused on the process of gathering technical requirements and certifying new currencies in order to accelerate the selling process -- as well as to ensure they can be integrated into media-buying processing systems such as Mediaocean’s to guarantee business can run smoothly.

True to its billing as an “upfront-style” event, there also was a fair amount of pitching in the discussion, with media suppliers touting the impact of their programming, and the need to develop currencies that better represent that -- not just provide estimates for the number of impressions they deliver to advertisers.

As important as the audience-measurement accuracy of the new currencies is, NBCUniversal President and Chief Business Officer Krishan Bhatia said technical investment and innovation has also been a key part of the shift to a Big Data-driven, multiple currency marketplace -- citing NBCU’s own investments, in particular, in data “cleanroom technology,” as well as its identity graph.

“That actually becomes the currency in a way,” he said, “ because you can track that back to both the accounting as well as the impact.”

4 comments about "'JIC' Opens On 'Weaponized' Note, Paramount's Halley Slams Nielsen".
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  1. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, April 28, 2023 at 1:06 p.m.

    As Sam Armando, EVP Publicis Media, said at an earlier M-CCC (not a JIC) meeting, "Measurement NOW" organised by Paramount, "I'm scared". 
    We should all be based on some of the, respectfully, misguided comments reported here especially MRC.  MRC was established by a Congressional Committee to provide the industry minimal research and measurment standards and independent in-depth audits of ratings services and other media databases.  In the digital media world this process has never been more important.  Certification is not auditing independent of whether the certification requirements are "acceptable" or not; and whether the auditing Standards are acceptable or not.
    Of note MRC, unlike JICs, does not set the metric for any media currency or manage its execution but ensures that whatever metric is chosen fulfills appropriate MRC Standards via its painstaking accreditation process.  JICs, which have been operating extensively worldwide for many years, independently manage and own the data currency and its copyright for a single credible objective trading currency on behalf of the industry.  JICs have well established operational parameters and values and save $millions. 
    Perhaps a Congressional Committee might well favour a JIC approach when there are $billions at stake? 

  2. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 28, 2023 at 3:32 p.m.

    Tony, on this one,I happen to agree with Halley when he says that MRC "accreditation for the so-called "alternative currencies" isn't necessary. Why? Because they aren't "currencies". They are mainly "qulitative" add-on metrics many of which probably could not pass the MRC's tests. In effect, these are sales promotion ploys and its up to the time buyers when they get involved to ask the right questions and make decisions about accepting the data or passing based on what they learn. This point applies to virtaully all of the qualitative measurements that have long  been used by media sellers---such as Starch ad readership studies sponsored by magazines or scanner panel studies which track product purchases among claimed subscribers to publications or homes that "watch" TV for TV ad sellers. How many of these are MRC accredited?

    As I keep pointing out, the TV sellers have a perfect right to introduce non-audience metrics wherever it suits them so long as a standard measurement---which must be "audience" ---exists as a base  for all buys. The mistake we are making is confusing  the discussion by labelling these add-ons---some of which may have merit----as "currencies". You can have only one standard "currency",  but this does not preclude the use of other information on a selective basis if the parties decide to go that way.

    What concerns me as I watch this dialog proceed is that we are taking our eyes off the ball where the real standard is concerned--how "audience" is defined and best measured. What we are heading for---and  rapidly ---- is a digital-style "audience" definition---based not on program content or ad viewing but the mere fact that a commercial played out on a device's screen. We are also assuming that a "big data" approach is far more accurate than a much smaller  national probablilty---style panel---or one that at least approximates same. I contend that this is a huge mistake---though the sellers for obvious reasons  will disagree. Guys and gals--we need to include "viewing" in our national TV rating  service---we need to know how many people were present and how many watched each portion of content. Without that we are moving sideways---not forwrd.

  3. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, April 28, 2023 at 3:55 p.m.

    As you will see from my Op Ed on Day Two of the ARF audienceXscience conference, we are on the same page in terms of moving forwards with "What people watch" per BARB Audiences UK, underline people and watch, versus sideways with content rendered counts.  Your position that the current alt-currencies may not be currencies is well taken. 
    However "weaponizing" MRC is surely unproductive?  Certification does not ensure that you are doing what you are certified to be doing on top of which without an exquisite audit the of digital data collections, integrations, calibrations, VIDs, synthesis, etc., etc. the final results will be suspect. 

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 28, 2023 at 4:13 p.m.

    Tony, I doubt that some of the "alternative currencies" ---like small sample brainwave or pupil dilation readings can be accredited by the MRC,. The same point applies for click throughs to the dvertiser's website or various methods to track sales results. Even attentiveness----if done by TVision ---might pose a problem. And the "big data" panels---ACR  and STB homes---millions of them---are these "probability samples?, How is the data tabulated when a set is broken or there is no activity---or too much activity?Etc. etc.

    The MRC was set up to deal with what was perceived to be a TV rating "problem"---or suspicions that there was a problem.It has since morphed---as it should ---into similar work for print media and radio and into local market surveys as well as national ones. However it would be very burdensome for many of the so-called "alternative currencies" to try to be accredited by the MRC and I believe that many would fail if they made the atttempt. I think that the sellers understand this and are trying to prevent the accreditation process from wiping out many of their proposed add-on "currencies". It's a fair point-- as not one of these has been seriously proposed as a replacement for Nielsen.

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