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Illustration: Sarah Grillo / Axios

Two major networks, NBCUniversal and ESPN, are rolling out their own advertising standards in an effort to harmonize how they measure digital, live, on-demand and TV audiences.

Why it matters: All of these bodies are trying to get their standards adopted across the entire industry, but so far, none of them are, which makes video ad buying across the video universe difficult and confusing for ad buyers. 

NBCUniversal is rolling out a new advertising metric called CFlight, which will measure all advertising impressions across all of NBCU — whether those ads were consumed live, on-demand, on linear TV or digital platforms. ESPN has similarly rolled out its own standards to measure video viewership across platforms. ESPN says will count linear and streaming audiences as the same.

To make matters more complicated, the industry group that traditionally creates and enforces uniform measurement standards for all media companies, The Media Rating Council (MRC), has proposed its own uniform standard for video consumption for all networks.

Some networks think the MRC is moving too slow, which is why they are moving quickly on their own. But MRC disagrees with their metrics approach.

"We believe the choice of using a complete view to monetize is a custom choice for the campaign seller and/or buyer, and we are enabling metrics to measure that, but we do not intend to make a complete view the counting standard for a cross-platform ad impression."
George Ivie, President MRC

The irony is some of the measurement companies that the networks have bumped heads with in the past for their TV ratings technology, are now praising some new efforts, because they will be a part of the way some of them measure video impressions by their own, new standards.

  • “We support NBCU’s efforts to evolve measurement, and Nielsen’s TV and digital ad currency play a critical role,” a spokesperson from Nielsen tells Axios. 

Similar measurement headaches are happening with viewability standards — or whether an ad loads to the point of completion.

  • GroupM, a leading digital advertising agency, eventually rolled out their own standard in 2015, which essentially became adopted by the industry.
  • The MRC's own standard became more widely adopted months later.
  • Some brands, like HP, Nestle, and IBM are also beginning to roll out their own thresholds for viewability, further complicating the process for marketers. 

The view from advertisers:

"The buy-side is pretty positive about the work NBCUniversal is doing to account for audiences across all their video viewing platforms in one place... Traditionally, TV advertising sales packages have been difficult to manage because they don't account for audiences being fragmented across platforms. For advertisers, having the opportunity to see potential audiences from all the platforms in one place can make a big impact on making more efficient and targeted media buying decisions."
— David Hahn, Chief Strategy Officer, IAS

Go deeper

Updated 2 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Omicron dashboard

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

  1. Health: CDC director says number of U.S. Omicron cases "likely to rise" — Two years of COVID-19 — Prior coronavirus infections may not protect well against Omicron.
  2. Vaccines: Data demonstrates most-vaccinated counties less vulnerable to worst of COVID — Omicron adds urgency to vaccinating world — Omicron fuels the case for COVID boosters.
  3. Politics: Nevada to impose insurance surcharge on unvaccinated state workers — New Jersey GOP lawmakers defy statehouse COVID policy — Oklahoma sues Biden administration over Pentagon vaccine mandate.
  4. World: Vaccine mandates lose steam in the U.S. while Europe doubles downWHO: Delta health measures help fight Omicron — COVID cases surge in South Africa in sign Omicron wave is coming.
  5. Variant tracker: Where different strains are spreading.

Vulnerable Democrats: Less Trump talk

Illustration: Aïda Amer/Axios

Vulnerable House Democrats are convinced they need to talk less about the man who helped them get elected: President Trump.

Why it matters: Democrats are privately concerned nationalizing the 2022 mid-terms with emotionally-charged issues — from Critical Race Theory to Donald Trump's role in the Jan. 6 insurrection — will hamstring their ability to sell the local benefits of President Biden's Build Back Better agenda.

Updated 4 hours ago - Politics & Policy

Bipartisan tributes flood in for "giant of the Senate" Bob Dole

Then-Vice President Joe Biden and former Sen. Bob Dole at an event put on by the World Food Program at which he was awarded the first “McGovern-Dole Leadership Award” in December 2013. Photo: Douglas Graham/CQ Roll Call

Republican and Democratic politicians, including former Senate colleagues, are sharing condolences and memories commemorating the life of Bob Dole, who passed away at 98 on Sunday morning.

The big picture: Dole, the Republican presidential nominee in 1996, was the longest-serving Republican leader in the Senate until 2018, when current Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell surpassed his record.

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