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.
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.”