VAB Creates New Media Measurement Innovation Taskforce

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NEW YORK —In the wake of Nielsen’s measurement problems and widespread industry calls for improved cross-platform measurement, the VAB today announced a new Measurement Innovation Task Force that will work to accelerate the pace of innovation in media measurement and currency.

As part of this collaborative effort among VAB member companies, the VAB will work to create the unified best practices and standards for the national TV ad industry. The VAB will also be working to partner with marketers on media measurement solutions for the full marketing ecosystem, the group said. 

The VAB represents major programmers and distributors, including Disney, Discovery, NBCUniversal, A+E, ESPN, ViacomCBS and others. In recent months it has been increasingly critical of problems with Nielsen’s measurement systems that led to Nielsen losing its accreditation from the MRC. 

“The time for action and innovation on measurement is now. That’s why I’m excited to announce the VAB’s new Measurement Innovation Task Force. Our role will be to immediately plug directly into a range of cross-industry initiatives, which first include the ANA's Cross-Media Measurement initiative, OpenAP’s Open ID and NBCUniversal's new cross-industry Measurement Innovation Forum,” said Sean Cunningham, president and CEO, VAB. 

“As each of these complementary initiatives explore, evaluate, and expand new measurement yardsticks, our new Task Force will provide regular feedback, questions, and perspective on behalf of every VAB member company,” Cunningham continued. “By combining the insights of existing initiatives and the involvement of the Task Force, we can finally build a future that works for our entire industry—and the VAB is certainly the natural bridge between all of these vital efforts.” 

In a blog post, Kelly Abcarian, executive vice president of measurement and impact, advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal noted that they will be joining the effort as part of their effort to develop new measurement systems. 

“We’ve long advocated for a more open and accountable marketplace, built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and shared values,” she said. “These efforts include our most recent call to move towards metrics that tell the full story. And we are not alone. There are many others who also believe this is the way forward, and are taking action. The ANA, OpenAP, and VAB have been leading this vital work. Collectively, they’ve agreed that OpenAP and the VAB will continue to focus on promoting interoperability across the TV premium video supply-side and work in tandem with ANA’s Cross Media Measurement initiative.” 

Last month, NBCU set up a Measurement Innovation Forum and next week at the ARF conference, NBCU will announce all of the companies that will be part of NBCU’s Measurement Innovation Forum. This will include media holding companies, brands, and other trade bodies.

It also said that the VAB will participate to represent all the media companies through it’s new Task Force. 

Recently, NBCU has also set up a Certified Measurement Program. It asked for RFPs on measurement and is currently reviewing more than 80 RFPs. In late September or early October, NBCU has said it will announce the measurement groups that become part of its Certified Measurement Program. 

“This effort [by the VAB] will also plug into NBCU’s newly created Measurement Innovation Forum, which will allow experts and leaders from across our industry—such as key brands, holding companies, and additional trade bodies—to weigh in the process and progress towards new measurement solutions,” Abcarian said. “Both these initiatives already have widespread industry support, and the necessary momentum to drive meaningful action.”

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.