Media companies have lately been at odds with Nielsen, the dominant measurement firm. The friction has increased since the company’s accreditation was pulled over the summer by the Media Rating Council, a watchdog group. That move has set off new efforts across several companies on the buy and sell side to explore different means of handling TV ad transactions.
In the ViacomCBS agreement, the company agreed to use VideoAmp’s “commingled” TV viewing data to guarantee linear media transactions against age and gender demographics. ViacomCBS will rely on VideoAmp’s data as an underlying currency to create and guarantee delivery of media campaigns against audience segments through Vantage, ViacomCBS’ advanced advertising platform. “Advanced advertising” refers to a set of methods and tools designed to go beyond the simple age and gender categories provided by traditional Nielsen numbers.
VideoAmp, founded in 2014, combines data from set-top boxes with automatic content recognition, the latter being a more recent innovation gleaning insights from smart-TVs. In announcing their partnership, the companies said the unified data provides a “deduplicated view of media delivery and advertising performance against any audience across traditional TV, streaming video, and digital media.”
Nielsen isn’t going anywhere, of course, and the friction it is experiencing with large network partners is a cyclical phenomenon that has existed since the earliest days of the TV medium. Still, technological advances and the viewing public’s embrace of streaming have increased the urgency around developing updated measurement solutions. Nielsen itself is readying a comprehensive new offering, Nielsen One, which it plans to start rolling out in 2022.
“We are thrilled to be partnering with ViacomCBS as an alternative currency as they go into a new broadcast season,” VideoAmp CEO Ross McCray said. “We truly value ViacomCBS and their forward-thinking strategy when it comes to a new era of media transaction, measurement and, ultimately, the currency options that power it. We want to unlock value for publishers in a privacy-safe way that keeps their audiences at the forefront, regardless of the channel they’re using.”
The partnership is intended to be friendly to advertisers and the major media agencies buying ad time. Earlier this month, VideoAmp announced pilot programs with five of the six major advertising holding companies as part of their efforts to unite the industry around an alternative independent measurement option. Like networks selling ads and fearing being shortchanged by Nielsen metrics, buyers of advertising, similarly, have expressed uneasiness with traditional methods.
“The measurement marketplace needs diversification,” John Halley, Chief Operating Officer of Advertising Revenue at ViacomCBS. “VideoAmp is an innovator who can help us accelerate our vision around the future of currency. We’re excited to leverage their platform to bring better insights and better measurement to advertisers and their agencies.”
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