European TV Execs Call for Urgent Change to TV Measurement

Over ninety percent of European TV industry executives believes that urgent changes are needed to the way TV advertising is measured in order for the industry to remain competitive, according to ‘TV Consortium’ (a joint project of Adobe, Alphonso, Sky and TVBeat). The report finds that brands are struggling to measure the performance of their TV ad campaigns as viewership fragments, and that investment in TV risks drying up unless changes are made.

The consortium interviewed over 300 TV executives across Europe as the basis for its report, ‘Next Generation TV Metrics and Data Strategies: Priorities for the European TV Industry’. The report noted that historically, TV audience measurement has played an important role in the industry’s success, but that with advanced TV advertising evolving at different rates across the continent, methods of measurement need to adapt. In particular, media buyers told the consortium that it’s becoming harder to deliver high-reach, high-frequency campaigns on TV as linear viewing declines. Unless broadcasters can deliver large-scale targeting and measurement solutions that allow buyers to plan, buy and measure de-duplicated audiences across multiple media channels, the media buyers warned that they might move more of their ad spend to online video platforms with easier-to-access pools of inventory.

A few key areas of change were highlighted by the interviews. Seventy-two percent of those interviewed said the industry must find new definitions and common principles for ad viewability, sixty-four percent said standardised definitions for TV and video impressions must be developed, and seventy-two percent believe the industry must enrich TV audience measurement with additional data sets that go beyond just age and gender.

The consortium laid out five priorities for the industry based on its findings:

  • To ensure that TV audience measurement solutions remain the “gold standard” in media measurement
  • To support the development of scalable, consistent pan-industry standards, definitions and solutions
  • To develop the industry-wide data assets and capabilities required to cater to new advertiser needs
  • To maintain TV’s status as a brand-safe, fully viewable, and effective advertising medium – committing to clear principles
  • To invest in training the next generation of data scientists to meet TV’s needs

Industry players are already working to adapt to the changing landscape. Justin Sampson, managing director of the UK’s TV advertising body BARB outlined the steps his company is already taking. “We have three priorities for developing our measurement of television audiences,” he said. “First, to provide multiscreen viewing figures, covering TV sets, smartphones, tablets and PCs. Secondly, to provide better reporting of the growing range of unidentified content being viewed on TV sets, such as SVOD services. And third, to maintain our reporting of new addressable advertising products, such as Sky AdSmart.”

But the consortium emphasised that wholesale change must come quickly, and will in many cases require competitors to work together and cooperate. “With the TV industry in the midst of so much change, the time to start these conversations and agree on common metrics, standards and definitions is absolutely now,” said Sky Media deputy managing director Jamie West. “By working together, the industry can ensure cross platform campaigns are simple as possible for advertisers to buy, measure and report on, which will also encourage new advertisers and revenue into the industry.”

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