NBCU’s RFP shows the need to stay focused on new measurement

The company's shot at bodies in the U.S. shows why the development of methods like VAM is so important here.
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In a statement put out yesterday, NBC Universal (NBCU) fired a shot across the bow at measurement bodies, saying that while the media and technology world has been transformed over the past few years, measurement methods are outdated
and holding the ad industry back, specifically calling out U.S. ratings body Nielsen.

The statement calls for measurement independence and says it’s time to build solutions that will serve all consumers advertisers, publishers, and platforms for the next century.

Last month, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), the organization representing most major TV networks in the U.S., asked the Media Ratings Council (MRC) to suspend Nielsen’s accreditation after an MRC audit found that total TV usage by adults 18 to 49 – the demographic that helps determine ad prices – was undercounted by 2% to 6% during February. NBCU has already sent out an RFP to more than 50 measurement companies, including ComScore and Nielsen.

Nileen Ventura, VP of channel insights at Horizon Media, says that here in Canada, it did highlight why new measurement methods are needed.

“We have the benefit of watching the U.S. market change the course of TV measurement and possibly paving the way for new alternatives,” she says. “We all have been looking forward to what VAM can offer in terms of holistic audience

Numeris’ VAM is a cross-platform video audience measurement solution that capture linear and digital content via a single-source panel. Data is collected through a meter attached to a household’s Wi-Fi router and measures every time a member of the household views white-listed digital video content. That data is then blended with linear data from the same panel. In January, Numeris rolled it out nationally to Toronto, Montreal, Calgary, Edmonton and Vancouver.

Jenny Croswell, Horizon’s SVP of activation and trading, says that Canada needs to stay focused on VAM, which the
industry has been building since 2017. “VAM is poised to measure video holistically in the next 12 months and
audio will follow. We can look to the U.S. to avoid pitfalls, but in theory, it should be easier to advance in Canada
given our market is so much more consolidated.”