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Today’s Measurement Challenges Are Bigger Than Any One Company


“The conversation is very much moving from demography to advanced segments,” said Bryson Gordon, executive vice president of advanced advertising at Viacom. But not everyone is ready to have that conversation about measurement.

Gordon spoke at today’s Advanced Advertising Summit in New York City, where questions of TV audience measurement and targeting dominated the discussion. During his keynote conversation, Gordon suggested that the whole TV ecosystem needs to change to solve problems around advanced advertising, and that more fluency around the topic is needed at every level. It’s not a problem one company can solve by itself.

Bryson Gordon, measurementBut change is difficult, and while some prefer to do things they way they have for the past 20 years, there are plenty of linear TV sales people who see career opportunities in the changing structures. These ambitious employees look to advanced data and see a way to differentiate themselves and drive their own careers forward.

The changing area of TV measurement is attracting people who have never worked in television before. Gordon notes that 70 percent of his team comes from other areas, and that he’s hired physicists and mathematicians—PhDs with a wide range of experience. When that group mixes with TV veterans, he says, magic happens.

The ultimate destination will offer a mix of traditional TV measurements with advanced data, providing consistency across data sets. The goal is not only to provide stronger data for marketers, but create a marketplace with less friction, where buyers can compare offers easily and focus on how each will let them reach their objectives.

An afternoon session on audience measurement and analytics picked up that thread, talking about how measurement can keep up with consumer choices. Nielsen advocates a combination of panel measurement and big data, stressed Kelly Abcarian, senior vice president of product leadership for the measurement specialist.

The idea that big data alone will solve all measurement problems is a misconception Abcarian calls “#fakenews,” saying that it discriminates against the nearly 15 percent of homes that rely on over-the-air antennas. These people view TV differently and have different profiles, she said. Nielsen is a proponent of marrying big data and panels. At the end of the day, she said, it’s about measuring people not set-top boxes.

Measurement solutions should be built around the individual viewer, Abcarian said. The challenge is with technologies across the ecosystem: Set-top boxes were designed to bring content into the home, not take data out. They miss a large amount of viewing time per user every day. Connected TV data collection has privacy issues. Since reporting figures drive billions of dollars of advertising decisions, it’s important to understand what different methods can do and what they can’t, she said.

Measurement is a team sport, Abcarian said, echoing Gordon’s thoughts from earlier in the day. The biggest challenge today is getting all the parts of the industry to work together.




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