TV Industry Group Gives Nod to Comscore, VideoAmp in Audience-Measurement Skirmish

TV Industry Group Gives Nod to Comscore, VideoAmp in Audience-Measurement Skirmish

A group backed by many of the entertainment sector’s biggest traditional TV companies said it would back audience-measurement tools from Comscore and VideoAmp for use in national ad deals, the latest effort by media giants to create an alternative to Nielsen for tabulating viewership.

Whether or not the new ad currencies will gain traction will depend on Madison Avenue. Nielsen, which is the most utilized measurement service, is rolling out new technology of its own, including a new “Big Data” product that utilizes audience counts built not only from its panels but also from interactions with smart TVs and set-top boxes.

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“While the currencies and resulting deal structures are decided solely between buyers and sellers, we cannot drive lasting transformation of the industry individually — we need consensus, compromise, and a shared understanding across all parties to move this industry forward,” says Travis Scoles, senior vice president of advanced advertising at Paramount Global and chairman of board of directors of the industry body, known as the U.S. Joint Industry Committee.

Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, and Warner Bros. Discovery launched the so-called JIC in January of last year in a bid to vet and certify a dizzying array of audience-measurement technologies that have come to market in recent months. The media companies worked with Open AP, the industry consortium that has in the past been used to create standard definitions of audience segments that can be used by advertisers, no matter the media company with which they transact.

The group did not certify another prominent measurement player, iSpotTV, which gained notice in 2022 for an alliance is struck with NBCUniversal. iSpot is to maintain what the JIC called a “conditional certification,” with a final decision expected to be made in the next certification window scheduled for June 2024.

The companies’ certification lack a critical element — backing from the Media Research Council, an independent industry monitor that examines and scrutinizes audience-measurement technology. Comscore recently gained accreditation from the MRC for its national and local TV-audience measurement services for households and average audiences. Still, Comscore TV’s estimates for households overlayed with age/gender demographic breaks and households with compositions are not accredited by the MRC at this time, and Comscore said it continues to work with the MRC for that backing. The company has also not been accredited for measuring over-the-air TV.

Under the JIC’s oversight, measurement companies will be up for recertification every two years.

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