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A better standard is needed to hold tech companies that are moving into the media and entertainment space accountable, and it's coming.

The media industry's standards group, the MRC (Media Rating Council), is gathering comments for a proposed "Audience Measurement Standard" that will be finalized and introduced in Q3, MRC CEO George Ivie tells Axios. The standard will provide more powerful metrics such as progress through the video ad coupled with in target audience performance.

Why it matters: Until a company is audited by the Media Ratings Council, there's no real way of knowing whether their metrics are legitimate. "Advertisers are more serious than I've ever seen them in pulling back dollars from those who won't be audited," Ivie says. "I've never seen advertisers more energized than right now about the quality of measurement."

  • How it works: The "duration-weighted metric," as the MRC puts it, will be calculated by measuring impressions (the number of times someone is reached) that are viewable by the MRC's standards (viewed for at least 2 consecutive seconds), combined with how long each of those verified views lasts.
  • "Not everyone loves it", says Ivie. "Some don't think weighting is necessary because in digital you have long-form and short-form viewing (which can be just seconds)," Ive says. He hopes the new standard will be adopted by everyone, creating a single standard for all video measurement and ad buying across TV and digital in the U.S.

Audit pressure rising: Two more tech giants will likely agree to be audited by the Media Ratings Council this fall, Ivie also tells Axios. Earlier this year, Google and Facebook both agreed to be audited, after reports of inflated video metrics received pushback from ad buyers. Snapchat received a lot of pressure to audit ahead of their IPO, but have yet to do so.

  • Of the six tech companies the MRC is in touch with about audits — Amazon, Foursquare, Snapchat, Linkedin, Pinterest and Twitter — two will likely agree to be audited this fall, two more are actively considering it, and two aren't close at all, Ivie says.

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Why it matters: Blinken sought to reassure the pair that the U.S. will maintain support for the country, despite President Biden's decision to withdraw troops from Afghanistan starting May 1 and concluding in full by Sept. 11.

Women rise to the top at major media companies

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Several women have been tapped to lead some of the country's largest newsrooms over the past year — a promising sign of progress for an industry that's typically been slow to accept change and embrace diversity.

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Americans will likely have to navigate a maze of vaccine "passports"

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