NBCUniversal Taps iSpot.tv to Help Measure Streaming Ad Impact

NBCUniversal Jan. 13 revealed it has partnered with iSpot.tv in an effort to better measure the impact of advertising on both its linear (NBC, MSNBC, CNBC) and online (Peacock) platforms.

The move comes after the Comcast-owned parent of Universal Studios sent out a public request seeking media measurement alternatives to longtime ratings bulwark Nielsen. Specifically, NBCUniversal is seeking intel how ads are consumed across the various distribution channels.

The media giant has worked with iSpot since 2014, but only now named the company a “certified measurement partner” as it aims to better quantify and qualify viewership data.

With more pay-TV viewers shifting to streaming video, the market has pushed toward a greater ad-supported VOD presence as well as the emergence of the free ad-supported stream television (FAST) distribution concept. At the same time, Nielsen, the longtime TV ratings metric, found its analysis under fire, with critics contending the company under-reported viewership in the digital age of TV consumption.

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Indeed, the Media Rating Council last year pulled its accreditation for Nielsen’s national and local TV ratings. Nielsen has acknowledged its shortcomings and revamped its ratings businesses.

The situation has prompted a flurry of third-party data firms trying to fill the void with proprietary data. Netflix, whose programming typically dominates most ratings metrics, has begun offering its own weekly tracking of most-streamed movies and TV shows in English and foreign languages.

NBCUniversal is especially interested to analyze data with Super Bowl LVI and 2022 Beijing Winter Olympics set to begin next month, and the company making the entire Winter Games for first time available on the Peacock streaming platform.

In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, Kelly Abcarian, EVP of measurement and impact at NBCUniversal, said the iSpot deal would afford NBCUniversal more precise data on viewership in a more timely manner.

“We think [putting] linear on that same playing field [as digital] is pretty critical, especially when you think about … an event like the Olympics where you’ve got 17 days to make decisions against billions of dollars,” Abcarian wrote.

Samba TV Bows Global TV Viewership Dashboard in Time for Tokyo Olympics

Samba TV July 23 announced the launch of its global Real-time TV Viewership Dashboard, an interactive TV analytics dashboard featuring geographic and demographic analysis of viewership in real-time across the world, starting with four of the largest media markets: the U.S., U.K., Germany and Australia.

Samba TV’s ACR technology, integrated at the chipset level across 24 smart-TV brands and addressable footprint of 46 million devices globally, identifies content that appears on the TV screen, including TV shows, commercials, movies, and video games.

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“The Olympics this year will underscore the importance of television and its unique ability to bring together billions of people in living rooms across the globe,” Samba TV co-founder/CEO Ashwin Navin. “TV data is critical for the media industry to understand the rapid changes in viewership behaviors pre-, mid-, and post-pandemic.”

Samba TV’s Real-time TV Viewership Dashboard will be put to the test during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and other large-scale media events. The platform allows advertisers the ability to see what channels and shows are being watched in their city or country within seconds. The dashboard leverages the company’s proprietary automatic content recognition (ACR) technology to provide in-the-moment insight into viewership across markets.

“Gone are the days of waiting days, weeks, or months for analysis of TV events that have already happened,” said Navin. “We are unlocking the power of real-time TV data and this first-of-its-kind solution raises the bar to make real-time insights available to everyone.”

Nielsen Rebooting Media Measurement Tools

TV ratings pioneer Nielsen Dec. 8 announced plans to launch a single, cross-media data analysis to drive more comparable and comprehensive metrics across all distribution platforms. Called Nielsen ONE, the new analysis will evolve the current metrics that underpin the more than $100 billion video advertising ecosystem using a phased approach. The company plans to launch the single measurement platform beginning in Q4 2022 with the intention to fully transition the industry to cross-media metrics by the Fall 2024 season.

Nielsen data shows that between March and August 2020, U.S. adults spent 12.2 trillion minutes with digital, 11.1 trillion minutes with linear TV and 2.8 trillion minutes streaming video — and these numbers continue to grow exponentially. As audiences move between linear, streaming and digital, Nielsen contends advertisers are demanding a single, de-duplicated view of their audiences across all platforms and mediums. Concurrently, publishers want to provide more ad options for buyers and improve the overall viewer experience.

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“With Nielsen ONE, we are delivering a single, comparable metric for TV and digital that will provide video consumption across all platforms, services and devices,” COO Karthik Rao said in a statement. “For media buyers and sellers, this means better monetizing their assets and maximizing their investments. Today’s announcement marks a major milestone for Nielsen as we put our cross-media vision into motion.”

The new media measurement tool claims it will enable advertisers and publishers to transact using a single metric across linear and digital that is verifiable, independent and standardized across the industry. With a single number, marketers will have visibility into total video consumption regardless of platform or device. Marketers will also benefit from a better understanding of unique audiences, the ability to better understand frequency and reduce double counting, inflated metrics and advertising waste, according to Nielsen.

“Cross-media measurement is a generational opportunity and one of the hardest challenges that our industry has had to solve,” said Ben Jankowski, SVP of global media for Mastercard. “There are tough technology issues, but also a very real cultural shift that needs to happen that encourages broadcasters, platforms and marketers to work closely together to drive better productivity across the board.”

Nielsen has already begun transforming its audience measurement solutions to increase resilience and flexibility.  As previously announced, Nielsen said it is “future-proofing” its digital measurement, evolving its National TV charts to include addressable measurement and expanding Internet-connected TV coverage to include additional smart TV manufacturers and digital video platforms in 2021. Starting in Q4 2022, Nielsen will release cross-media ratings that it claims would deliver metrics at sub-minute intervals for individual ads and content. Nielsen expects this measurement will ultimately become the foundation of the cross-media buying and selling process, succeeding the current form of TV and digital measurement no later than the Fall 2024 season.