One of the most frenetic areas of measurement development today is in cross platform. Creative and scalable solutions are being crafted that enable programmers and advertisers to gain a more complete picture of how the usage of various media platforms compare to and blend within each other. There is no standard yet, but there are a myriad of possible semi-solutions that can link some, but not yet all, platforms under one metric. Progress is being made and it is only a matter of time (and data) before we get to a complete and scale-able measurement.
CIMM’s annual Summit this past week focused on cross platform measurement. True to its name and mission, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement seeks to transform the way audiences are measured. Managing Director Jane Clarke has a clear vision of CIMM’s mission in cross platform and has been a great advocate of advancements in measurement. She said, “This year’s Summit showcased that exciting new methodologies to better understand the complexities of cross-platform media measurement are being formed, and the industry as a whole is taking notice.”
The half day meeting included an update on CIMM’s TAXI (Trackable Asset Cross Platform Identifier) Initiative which CIMM launched two years ago and which CIMM continues to support in the form of project investment and analyses. TAXI’s importance is being recognized. Jane explained that “the widespread industry adoption of Ad-ID and EIDR coding for all advertising and video content assets, the goal of our TAXI initiative, received resounding support from Summit attendees.”
TAXI, with its advocacy of a UPC type standard for content (both programming and advertising) across all platforms, is one very important area of need in developing cogent measurement. And the need goes beyond measurement. Citing the four “R’s of asset identification, Research, Royalties, Rights and Residuals, it is clear that the importance of verifying asset exposure across platforms serves many purposes. While TAXI's first recommendation is to register assets using Ad-ID and EIDR, there is also an initiative to develop an open standard for binding the metadata to the asset, so it won't be lost through transcoding and compression. This may be with a watermark or fingerprint technology (ACR) or by using the closed captioning space in TV broadcasting.
In a panel on the Roadmap for Cross-Platform “Exposure” Measurement, the value of asset identification was estimated to be $2.5 billion in recurring economic benefit to the industry. So this issue is no small stakes and the challenges to overcome are not difficult, costly or insurmountable. Janice Finkel-Greene of MAGNA Global gave one example. “Without a standard, it is hard to get show titles to match”. Titles are input by humans and even a simple miss-spelling can cause hours of extra clean-up work. Once a standard code is appended to all content, the match will be based on the code itself and not the capricious spelling of the content title. As Harold Geller of Ad-ID explained, “If you can’t identify it, you can’t operationalize it. If you can’t operationalize it you can’t measure it. And if you can’t measure it you can’t monetize it.” That in itself should be a compelling argument for the adoption of a standard coding system.
ESPN has embarked on an ambitious hybrid solution for cross platform measurement with Project Blueprint combining TV, Radio, PC and Mobile data via Arbitron and comScore. As ESPN’s Artie Bulgrin explains, “The knowledge gaps about how people consume media across multiple platforms are growing and so are the business implications. Our goal is not to create new currencies, but to provide an essential layer of research that begins to mitigate those gaps with a scalable, on-going measurement solution. What makes Project Blueprint so unique is that it combines the breadth of reporting from ‘big data’ measures (census analytics) with the depth of persons-level data from single-source panels.”
All in all, the CIMM Summit proved to be an industry changing event, moving asset identification and cross platform measurement forward. “Our event was a success,” Jane Clarke said, “and CIMM will continue sparking discussions to help marketers make smarter ad buy decisions and receive better return on their ad dollar investments.”
A solution to cross platform measurement appears closer than ever.