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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.

Go deeper

Why migrants are fleeing their homes for the U.S.

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios Photo: Herika Martinez /Getty Images 

Natural disasters in Central America, economic devastation, gang wars, political oppression, and a new administration are all driving the sharp rise in U.S.-Mexico border crossings — a budding crisis for President Biden.

Why it matters: Migration flows are complex and quickly politicized. Biden's policies are likely sending signals that are encouraging the surge — but that's only a small reason it's happening.

Cities' pandemic struggle to balance homelessness and public safety

Illustration: Sarah Grillo/Axios

Addressing homelessness has taken on new urgency in cities across the country over the past year, as officials grapple with a growing unhoused population and the need to preserve public safety during the coronavirus pandemic.

Why it matters: It’s led to tension when cities move in to clear encampments — often for health and safety reasons — causing some to rethink the role of law enforcement when interacting with people experiencing homelessness.

Biden to sign voting rights order to mark "Bloody Sunday" anniversary

President Biden will sign an executive order today, on the 56th anniversary of "Bloody Sunday," meant to promote voting rights, according to an administration official.

Why it matters: The executive order comes as Democrats face an uphill battle to pass a sweeping election bill meant, in part, to combat a growing number of proposals introduced by Republicans at the state level that would restrict voter access.