May 22 2024
Media Coverage

Future of TV Briefing: One area where the upfront measurement currency conversation is advancing

This week’s Future of TV Briefing looks at the state of play for measurement currencies as advanced audiences become a focal point in this year’s upfront market.

Advanced measurement

There is — finally — some measurement currency activity worth monitoring in the annual upfront market.

OK, it’s probably not the one you’re thinking of. Nielsen’s legacy panel-based measurement will remain the primary measurement currency used as the basis for this year’s upfront deals, according to executives at TV networks and agencies. But with advanced audiences being a bigger part of upfront ad sellers’ pitches this year, that creates an opening for alternative measurement providers to seed themselves into the market — and potentially secure a significant foothold in the future of TV and streaming ad measurement.

One Nielsen rival in particular seems to be especially seizing that opening.

“There is an increased focus on trying to move to mid- and lower-funnel and advanced audiences. And that is where I think VideoAmp has a significant edge,” said one agency executive.

“Today we’re pretty locked in with VideoAmp as it relates to advanced audiences and activation against non-traditional demos,” said one TV network executive

“I’m leaning into VideoAmp. We’re going to use VideoAmp for our strategic targeting measurement data,” said a second TV network executive.

“We’re so focused on strategic audiences; that’s priority number one for us. And VideoAmp is the key partner in that,” said a third TV network executive.

In other words, where Nielsen’s legacy measurement will be the primary currency driving traditional age-and-gender-based upfront deals this year, VideoAmp is sitting in pole position for advanced audience agreements. And with upfront ad buyers and sellers gravitating toward advanced audience deals, that position could give VideoAmp a boost when it comes to primary currency changeover that may or may not happen next year (depending on whether Nielsen pulls a Google and postpones its legacy measurement deprecation once again).

But there’s still a lot that needs to be sorted out between now and then. For example, while ad buyers and sellers may be more comfortable adopting VideoAmp as the currency for advanced audiences, there still seems to be a preference toward having Nielsen in the mix. Or maybe it’s inertia.

“I would love if the entire ecosystem – everybody – just said, ‘Let’s do Nielsen plus big data,’ and everybody would just do it,” said the second TV network executive, referring to Nielsen’s newer big data-based measurement system. “Unfortunately I think there’s going to be some people that do it, and some people use VideoAmp, some people use iSpot. I think the currency is going to be all over the place.”

Nielsen’s big data measurement system (which we’ll refer to as “Nielsen big data”) appears to be VideoAmp’s main competition, but it has hit a rough patch. 

“Nielsen big data, we’re ready to go on that. But we’ve had only one agency that told us that they were ready to go on it,” said a fourth TV network executive.

“We’re talking to agencies about Nielsen big data for the first time as a currency [option]. There are certain [agency] holding companies that want it. We’re a proponent of big data. But there’s a reluctance on some agencies and some sellers about it,” said a fifth TV network executive.

At some point, though, the TV ad industry is going to have to make bigger moves on the measurement front. For as much as the conversation around advanced audiences is growing, it’s still – for the moment – effectively a side conversation. “The percentage of advanced audience transactions [out of total TV ad buys] is at 10%. So 90% are age and demo,” said the agency executive. 

Nonetheless, both buyers and sellers seem set on making advanced audiences a bigger part of their upfront deals as well as making some kinda transition to new measurement currencies. So at some point, they’re going to have to sort out how to reconcile these two deal types, which basically boils down to a math equation calculating how, as one example, a Nielsen-backed, age-and-demo CPM compares to a VideoAmp-backed, advanced audience CPM.

“Agencies have decades and decades that they’ve been transacting on demo. So now they go to all these alternative audiences, they’re off their base [ad rates],” said the fifth TV network executive.

“Any move to new currency involves an assessment of value: how the CPMs get translated,” said a sixth TV network executive.

Source: Digiday