Tuesday, August 24, 2021

NBCUniversal Exec Wants 'Measurement Independence'

Kelly Abcarian, a top-ranking NBCUniversal data executive on the advertising and sales side, has had it with Nielsen. She joined the club Monday with a blog post calling for the industry to “declare measurement independence.”

“Here’s something we all know: advertising measurement is outdated,” her essay started.

The Wrap reports the blog post’s mission statement, as emphasized by Abcarian’s mostly bolded text, reads: “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.“

Last month, the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) — the industry group representing virtually all of the major TV networks — asked the Media Ratings Council (MRC) to suspend the TV ratings company’s accreditation. Nielsen beat them to the punch, sort of, by initiating its own suspension.

Nielsen came under fire recently after it was found to have undercounted viewers during the COVID-19 pandemic. Nielsen’s total usage of television by adults 18-49 — the demographic a majority of ad prices are based on — was understated by 2% to 6% during February, according to a Media Ratings Council audit. Additionally, the MRC believes that “persons using television” among that same age group was understated by 1% to 5%.

Abcarian’s not waiting on the MRC’s current investigation — but NBCU is not dumping Nielsen outright. Instead, Abcarian believes the TV landscape needs “multiple yardsticks” to measure the various ways content is now consumed.

“Interoperability, in a consumer safe and privacy compliant way, is the future of our industry,” she wrote.

“For our part, NBCUniversal is bringing together a broad network of trusted partners to help modernize the industry’s approach,” Abcarian wrote. “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.”

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