Media ratings consortium OpenAP and and the Video Advertising Bureau, have formed a joint committee with TV giants Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, and Warner Bros. Discovery, with the goal of pushing alternatives to Nielsen numbers.
In an announcement, the committee said the goal is “to enable multiple currencies with the primary focus of creating a measurement certification process to establish the suitability of emerging cross-platform measurement solutions in advance of the 2024 upfront.”
The new body said it has already begun to utilize the collective efforts and progress being made across its members to develop measurement certification standards, which will be formalized and officially announced on March 1. On April 25, it will host an event to share progress being made toward accelerating the multi-currency future and upfront readiness of measurement partners.
In a joint statement, CEOs Jeff Shell of NBCU, Bob Bakish of Paramount, Wade Davis of TelevisaUnivision and David Zaslav of WBD expressed optimism about the potential of their collaboration. “The sustainability of the premium video advertising model depends on an ecosystem for measurement that is transparent, independent, inclusive, and accurately reflects the way all people consume premium video content today – across multiple screens, connections, and devices,” the statement said. “By coming together to establish this JIC, we can collaborate and accelerate the efforts to implement a new multi-currency future that fosters more competition, inclusivity and innovation and will ultimately better serve advertisers, agencies and consumers.”
The partners said they will fund several data initiatives, listing four specific plans. Those include establishing and maintaining a measurement certification process in partnership with the VAB with the goal of having it ready for the 2024 upfront; creating a programmer data set to enable third-party measurement vendors by “harmonizing” streaming viewership data delivered by OpenAP infrastructure; engaging a third-party audit firm to verify the accuracy of the streaming viewership data; and collaborating with the VAB and ANA as well as with other key Industry trade groups like the 4A’s, IAB, ARF and others.
The initiative follows a particularly rancorous couple of years in the long-fraught TV measurement trenches, as Nielsen has found itself under increasing scrutiny by networks and advertisers alike. In the wake of revelations in 2021 that the company had miscounted both linear and streaming numbers, the Media Rating Council, an independent oversight body, revoked its accreditation of Nielsen’s methods. On the business front, the company has also faced an increasing number of viable competitors, though it remains the dominant player in terms of market share.
Ratings methods have become even more important than they have always been in an environment of dramatic shrinkage of the TV bundle. According to recent estimates by Leichtman Research Group, 66% of TV households in the U.S. have some form of pay-TV package (meaning cable, satellite, telecom or virtual MVPD), down from 79% in 2017. That decline has put increasing pressure on Nielsen, though the firm has maintained it is increasing its investments in new tools capable of making it viable in the streaming era. Nielsen One, a long-awaited solution, will officially launch later this month.