There has never been a better time to explore solutions for cross platform measurement. New technological advancements have been embraced by content consumers and now in 2014, we mark the first year that we have cross platform unduplicated reach and frequency measurement solutions currently being tested. We are not at the currency stage yet but we are certainly taking the first steps.
Credit for these advancements includes measurement companies such as comScore and Nielsen, efforts from networks like ESPN, NBCU and Turner and the industry-wide effort of The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) which has focused on this issue since its inception in 2009.
CIMM’s Managing Director Jane Clarke noted, “The progress towards an open standard of cross-platform measurement made in 2014 is truly encouraging. It’s wonderful to see the industry testing, enhancing and ultimately embracing these initiatives and that CIMM’s mandate of cultivating projects that advance the discussion around these technologies has been fruitful thus far. I expect the progress to continue and am eager to see a viable cross-platform measurement solution in the near future.”
I moderated a panel at the recent CIMM Cross-Platform Media Measurement Summit that explored four differentiated cross platform measurement solutions:
Ø CIMM and ESPN’s work with comScore’s Project Blueprint which brings five separate data sources together to measure simultaneous usage and de-duped reach for video, audio and text. Phase 1 was pioneered by partner ESPN and phase 2 in partnership with CIMM. The next step is to expand Blueprint from custom study to a standard practice.
Ø NBCU’s single source approach for measuring the recent Olympics at Sochi with a Day in the Life for three target segmentations – Millennials, Women and Alphaboomers.
Ø CNN’s All Screen study uses custom data integration linking Nielsen cross platform data and internal digital data.
Ø Nielsen’s roadmap for cross platform ratings that addresses the what, why, and how of extending their Ratings service to measure across platforms.
These four solutions all approach cross platform measurement from different angles using different methodologies and data sources. And yet each approach offers a unique and illuminating way to combine data across platforms. A chart which compares all these solutions can be found on the CIMM website.
Some are poised for a fuller industry roll-out such as Project Blueprint. Blueprint sponsor Artie Bulgrin of ESPN says “We have a working measurement system that now needs to be vetted and tested by the industry, first by CIMM members as part of the phase two test. Blueprint will evolve further and ultimately the MRC will review. Right now the first priority is establishing industry consensus.”
ComScore’s Manish Bhatia adds, “Blueprint’s cross-platform media consumption view combines single source, passive, persons' level measurement system with census level. We are pleased with the support and guidance from the industry and look to provide fast, relevant insights on an ongoing, syndicated basis.”
Other solutions like NBCU’s Day In the Life approach may not be easily scalable but it offers an ethnographic look at viewer behavior. Others, using Nielsen’s ratings, can help companies track back to industry standard metrics. Such is CNN All Screen where Turner’s Howard Shimmel anticipates that “Nielsen offers a syndicated service that combines TV in home and out of home data, so the data gets absorbed in agency buying and planning tools.” Nielsen has its own set of priorities according to Kelly Abcarian. "Right now our key areas of focus are on supporting all the clients implementing the Nielsen SDK with their video players to enable cross platform GRPs, and engaging the MRC on key accreditation efforts for these important expansions of our already accredited solutions."
What are the next steps that need to be taken for cross platform measurement, taking into account ingrained industry challenges? “My dream would be for all relevant parties to meet with CIMM to identify the best solution for the industry. No one provider can solve what the market needs, and it will only be through cooperation of various providers, “says Shimmel who adds, “The biggest challenge is companies who believe they can provide an integrated solution themselves.”
What the CIMM initiative proves is that when the industry shares knowledge and works collaboratively, it is possible to find several excellent solutions to challenging problems.