Don’t count Nielsen out of TV’s measurement wars just yet.
Many TV companies are reaching out for new yardsticks to measure audiences rushing to watch TV in digital fashion. Disney is, too — but it’s not abandoning one of the industry’s oldest measurement purveyors as it does so.
Disney said Tuesday that it had entered into an agreement with Publicis Media to test work on Nielsen’s new NielsenOne system, a measurement product that aims to count unduplicated video audiences across linear and digital screens and that Nielsen expects to introduce formally later this year. Disney already agreed in December to help test the technology, but it plans to work with Publicis to “to develop requirements that enable more precise measurement capabilities” that may “inform how the platform can expand and have a bigger presence in live events, particularly in sports.”
“In our industry, there is no singular approach to accurate measurement,” said John Muszynski, who oversees media investment for U.S. clients of Publicis Media Exchange, in a statement. “We have a responsibility to our clients to help them navigate this uncertainty, so testing and learning with Nielsen, Disney and other players remains critical to uncovering the next industry currency.”
The agreement shows that Nielsen aims to have a heavy presence in the world of media, even as many of the companies in the sector are rushing to strike alliances with its rivals. Nielsen and the networks it serves have been embroiled in a months-long joust as the TV companies have challenged the accuracy of Nielsen’s work during the pandemic. Still, its best-known product — TV ratings — has been without industry backing since September, when the Media Rating Council suspended its backing of the measurement services, which continue to be used, but gave media companies a window to start working with Nielsen rivals. Nielsen data, however, remains the bedrock element of most TV advertising deals.
NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, Discovery and Paramount Global are among the big media companies that have struck measurement alliances with upstart vendors like iSpotTV.com, VideoAmp and Comscore. But Nielsen expects to be able to ask for a new accreditation vote from the MRC later this year, David Kenny, the company’s CEO, said during a call with investors Monday.
Disney is also exploring new avenues. The company is expanding its contract with Samba TV and will bring that company’s measurement of reach and frequency to media buyers and advertisers purchasing Disney inventory. Disney has already worked with one large client, Hyundai, to measure unduplicated impressions, and the technology helped Hyundai gain a better understanding of how it could place ads to reach more consumers. Publicis, which is also working with NBCU to test iSpot technology, will join in testing Samba efforts in the spring.
Disney has also struck an alliance with Omnicom Media Group to test measurement efforts from Comscore across linear and digital over the next several months