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NBCUniversal is pushing for a new way to measure TV and streaming audiences — going so far as to send requests for proposal to some 50 analytics companies to come up with such a system.
The company’s call for a new way to quantify audiences comes as media conglomerates are putting pressure on Nielsen to update its protocols and fix issues stemming from the pandemic. The ratings service, for its part, has asked for a hiatus from accrediting body the Media Rating Council to address the issues.
“The media and technology landscape has completely transformed over the last few years — yet measurement remains outdated,” Kelly Abcarian, executive vp measurement and impact at NBCUniversal Advertising and Parternships, writes in an open letter to the industry. “Why? Because the advertising industry has not adapted and it’s holding us back.”
She continues, “We can construct a better, more transparent future. And we need all our industry’s builders — including Nielsen — to architect an entirely new blueprint. It’s time for us to declare measurement independence, and build solutions that will serve all consumers, advertisers, publishers, and platforms for the next century.”
To that end, NBCU has sent an RFP to 50 measurement companies, including Nielsen; other established players including ComScore and LiveRamp’s Data Plus Math; and streaming focused providers including iSpot, Truthset, Conviva and VideoAmp. “NBCU plans to work with an array of measurement partners to provide an accurate, robust, and independent measurement services for NBCU to leverage across planning, forecasting, activation, optimization, reporting, and post campaign assessment,” the request says. Companies have until the end of business Monday to submit their proposals.
NBCUniversal’s call for proposals comes at a time where audience habits have changed markedly, delivery windows and when media conglomerates have accused long-time standard bearer Nielsen of undercounting audiences during the pandemic. The Video Advertising Bureau, a trade group representing media buyers, has asked the Media Rating Council to suspend Nielsen’s accreditation — which wouldn’t stop Nielsen from continuing to collect ratings but would take away its gold-standard imprimatur.
“NBCUniversal is bringing together a broad network of trusted partners to help modernize the industry’s approach,” Abcarian’s letter concludes. “We’re in the process of assembling a full suite of interoperable measurement solutions that are as advanced, diverse, easy-to-use, and multi-platform as the ways people watch content. And we’ll share more updates on the steps we’re taking in the next few weeks.
“In this new era, more measurement options and collaboration will drive the future of content and advertising forward.”
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