Celebrating Comscore's MRC Accreditation For Household TV Ratings

  • by , Featured Contributor, March 21, 2024
It’s now sorting-out time for the "alt measurement movement.”

Over the past few years, we’ve been inundated with noise, claims and hyperbole around TV ad measurement from would-be claimants to Nielsen’s multidecade position of dominance overseeing the industry’s ratings in the U.S.

That wasn’t a surprise. Challenges to Nielsen’s methodology and limited scale had been known for years, and fixes were taking way, way too long.

So, it was especially nice to see this in a social media post yesterday from Nielsen CEO Karthik Rao: "Congratulations to Comscore, Inc. on receiving MRC accreditation for their total household rating and average audience estimates in national and local TV time-based grid reports. The more accredited data there is in the marketplace the better it is for everyone -- buyers, sellers, viewers and all of us devoted to the science of audience measurement.”

You can read more about it here.

As anyone who has worked in our industry well knows, for media measurement to be effective, it not only needs to be accurate, but it needs to be independent, transparent, unbiased and accredited. The Media Rating Council is the organization that Congress created decades ago to manage accreditation after a number of scandals were uncovered relating to media owners fraudulently inflating their numbers.



Thus, Karthik Rao’s note to Comscore is not just a nice gesture from a measurement rival, the company with the most to lose as more TV measurement providers are accredited, but it is an important acknowledgement that everyone in our industry needs to play by the same rules if we are going to keep a healthy and growing marketplace.

The bar is now set for the rest of the “alt measurement movement.” It’s time to get your MRC certification. We will all benefit from everyone offering TV ad currency solutions being held to the same standards, the gold standard of the MRC.

Well done, Comscore and team! Well played, Karthik and Nielsen!

9 comments about "Celebrating Comscore's MRC Accreditation For Household TV Ratings".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 21, 2024 at 7:29 p.m.

    Good one, Dave.

    In fairness to Nielsen, however, it's never been that Nielsen deliberately chose to utilize overly small panels---either nationally or locally----it's basically been a business decision. The networks and stations---the latter, especially in smaller markets----couldn't---or wouldn't---pay the cost for much larger panels. And Nielsen---as a business--wasn't going to operate larger panels at a loss. This is why ---in my opinion----Nielsen's current, big data  service is using millions of STB and ACR homes from existing panels rather than setting up it's own from scratch. Doing that would be very costly. Going with established big data  suppliers makes such an expanded service affordable for most of the sellers who will rely on its findings.

  2. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, March 21, 2024 at 10:20 p.m.

    Dave, it appears you are condoning the chaos of not only multi currencies for a medium but also the choas of having different basis, definitions and derivations for the "currency" offered, albeit that quite possibly for each one will be accredited by MRC. MRC purposely and wisely do not establish a medium's "agreed industry  currency" just that the research elements used  are executed as specified relative to the the minimum Guidlines MRC establishes.  (BTW: NOT Standards and certainly not gold!)  Currency is singular for any medium which is one of the foundations of JICs (or MOCs) that operate around the world.  That would be REAL JICs and not a Multi-Currency Certification Committee, M-CCC!  Now can we stop the misinformation and the chaos and establish a REAL TV/Video JIC here?   The benefits and efficiencies are significant.

  3. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 22, 2024 at 2:08 p.m.

    Dave, I doubt that many of the so-called "alternative currencies" will even try for an MRC certifiction as none of them are contending for the position of "standard currency". In fact, they are basically qualitative in nature---not quantitative----so there is little need for MRC to get involved but if it does, there is no certaintity that they will pass its tests. As for Comscore---while I wish it well---especially for small-mid-sized local market TV household rating measurement--- Nielsen probably has its customary national TV rating dominance locked up with its new big data set usage plus small data button pressing system---barring some horrible foul up. So we will be using the same kinds of "audience" metrics as before---but with much larger set usage samples. And advertisers will continue to deceive themselves as to the actual reach and frequency of their ad messages. But, they are getting what they pay for---which is not much.

  4. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia, March 22, 2024 at 2:59 p.m.

    Tony, Actually, I do not endorse multiple currencies as a desred outcome. It is chaos, as you describe. However, I do want to see competiton in the provisionong of currency and don't want to exclude any companies and solutoins that can meet teh standards. Whehter they can build businesses that can survive is another question.

  5. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, March 22, 2024 at 5:05 p.m.

    Dave:  So, to eliiminate the chaos and save the industry $millions, let them all compete to be the selected vendor, or part of a vendor consortium, under a REAL JIC?  BTW:  JICs set their own rigorous specifications.  The currency - singular - is constantly audited by the JIC  Technical staff under the guidance of its member Technical Commitee which is generally chaired by the buyer side.  Next?

  6. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, March 22, 2024 at 5:21 p.m.

    Tony, I don't know that I am a fan of one industry committee choosing a sole vendor - not even sure that US antitrust law would permit it - partricularly since the compostion of video media owners is so dynamic. Ten years ago it would have been dominated by TV broadcast companies. Today, it would be odminated by mix of multi-channel TV companies, Google/YouTube, Amazon, Netflix, TikTok. In five years, who knows? Reddit? Shein? Apple? Uber?

  7. Dave Morgan from Simulmedia replied, March 22, 2024 at 5:29 p.m.

    Rather than a commirttee selection, I would prefer the market decides, with some/one winning and others losing. There's not enough money in media sellers' currency budgets to fund many players for ery long. And, as we all know, the buy-side prefers comparability/consitency/stability, so I don't think that it will take long for the market to shake down to a primary supplier and then one or two secondary ones (probably, with some niche specializatins, like local or out-of-home or an audience specializtion).

  8. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, March 23, 2024 at 10:24 a.m.

    Dave, "the market" has already decided, I'm afraid and it's dominated by one side---the sellers. At present, they are carefully reviewing the findings of the new Nielsen big data plus VPS plan and, of course it has to pass the MRC's muster.. But barring any stupendous screw up, it's almost a certainty that the new  "super" Nielsen plan will be adopted in due course as the "audience" measurement "standard". While competition is always good, and I wish all of the other "contenders" the best, all they can hope for is to get some business as add-on qualitative refinements for some buys. So, other sources of revenue need to be mined. I've had some interesting discussions with some about this and there is hope beyond being  a"JIC certified alternative currency" candidate for those planning seriously ahead.

  9. Tony Jarvis from Olympic Media Consultancy, March 23, 2024 at 2:36 p.m.

    Dave, your rationales for overcoming the current choas along with the technical and business players complexities contains some of the key foundations of what JICs (or MOCs) address everyday! In addition, per the blue ribbon speakers from around the world, including US anti-trust lawyers, at the January 2005 ARF Seminar, "Accountability of Audience Measurment - A Global Examination", JICs (MOCs) are not antitrust when managed appropriately as GeoPath (which delivers the Eyes-On OOH currency) has demonstrated for years in the US.
    To Ed's points and insights, the current chaos has been driven by the sellers - what ratings would you like?  How much money have you got?  It will be surely be exacerbated by potential MRC accrediations that could potetially accredit one service for measurement of proof-of-play, i.e., verification of content rendered counts, aka "viewable impressions (NOT OTS!); one service for "REAL OTS" (per ROUTE UK); one for Likelihood-to-See, LTS; one for Eyes/Ears-On or 'contacts'; and one for high level attention.  Each measurement & resulting metric would have very different defintions and derivations based on different MRC Guidelines. Surely we are long overdue to embrace JICs that operate in much of the rest of the media measurement world and learn from their invaluable experience.  ANA & 4As - buyers have the ultimate control??? 

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