How do we build a cross-media measurement system that reflects TV’s premium delivery

(Anders Rune, egta)

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As content is diffused through an increasing number of mediums, it is more and more vital to develop a cross-media measurement system. Anders Rune, Research and Insight Manager at egta, discusses why advertisers need a crossmedia measurement system and the challenges in its implementation.

It is well established today that viewers watch content on many screens other than TV sets, and usually via the internet, using a variety of connected devices. This has created an issue in that viewing behaviours are evolving faster than the audience measurement techniques that form the basis of advertising transactions, and TV broadcasters agree that measurement systems must be fully adapted to the current reality.

One measurement initiative which illustrates this point, and which has attracted attention from all parts of the industry during the past year, is the ongoing work by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) on a cross-media measurement framework. This stemmed from a decision by global marketers in 2019 to “take matters into their own hands” to form the basis of an industry-supported solution. The global framework, which is intended to be rolled out locally and adapted to take account of market differences, is currently being put to the test in the UK and the US as pilot markets.

egta – the trade association of television and radio sales houses – applauds advertisers and all the partners involved for their persistent efforts on this ambitious initiative, and in particular for creating momentum like never before behind collaboration and advancement in the development of audience measurement systems across media.

What this project has underlined is that there is still some way to go in terms of designing a measurement system which fully satisfies advertisers’ needs. To better monitor and optimise the effectiveness of campaigns, the advertiser framework calls for a system that offers deduplicated cross-media reach and frequency alongside the ability to measure viewers of advertising across screens, platforms and channels with a single measurement.

Can this be done? With collaboration from the entire industry, we believe it can – at least technically for total video measurement. However, beyond the technical challenges there are a number of fundamental discussions to be had before any cross-media measurement system is considered successful.

Who will fund, and run it, and how? What will it be used for, and how will this fit into existing currencies and measurements in the countries involved? Will the existing measurement solutions be used or new ones produced? Broadcasters and other participating media groups need to decide what role, if any, they, their measurements, their Joint Industry Committees (JICs*) and their input – both in terms of effort and financial resources – should have in this initiative.

Furthermore, to get ‘apples to apples’ comparison across TV and online advertising, standards and metrics must be discussed, aligned and agreed. It is fundamental to any design that the industry agrees on how to compare advertising formats and the environments in which ads are shown, and that differences are represented fairly. As the end-users, advertisers should have particular interest in this. For broadcasters, it is also important that transparency, oversight and comparable quality of input and output data are guaranteed, that the model measures duration weighted impressions as a minimum, and that both advertising and content are measured.

egta is open and supportive of the initiative, but remains set on upholding the quality of TV measurement in any proposed cross-media solution. We believe it is fundamental to remind advertisers of the unmatched quality of the ’views’ they associate their brands with when they buy into the premium world of TV companies’ linear and online properties. Measurement standards for the entire TV industry and commitment to responsible and transparent measurement of advertising are laid out in a TV Charter published by egta and the Global TV Group in 2019.

Television is not only the most trusted and brandsafe medium, but also provides the most quantitative and robust measurement, and offers the most thoroughly audited data.

Television
offers the most
thoroughly
audited data

egta and its members believe that effective evolution requires the further adaptation and extension of traditional and hybrid television audience measurement systems to all other devices and platforms, rather than their replacement by an entirely new system. Whereas new elements can be added to care for the reality of other players, it is vital that the work done and the solutions developed and tested by JICs and their partners across the world are given all due consideration and become part of the solution that is agreed.

To that end, egta has published an extensive update of our Advances in Hybrid TV Audience Measurement in September 2020, which examines the evolution of TV (i.e. total video) audience measurement and provides overviews of audience measurement projects and developments in various markets by JICs and their partners, to remind the industry of the advanced and high-quality work already achieved.

*Joint Industry Committee

Anders Rune

Anders Rune

Research & Insight Manager, egta

Anders Rune has more than 10 years of experience from various research and management roles in Denmark, London and Brussels, where he previously worked for companies such as GAN Integrity Solutions, Transparency International UK and Mentis Consulting. Over the years, he has worked on TV advertisement measurement for multinational clients.
Anders is Research and Insight Manager at EGTA and is involved in market intelligence, research, audience measurement and TV requests.
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