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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

Scoop: Biden briefing calls for 20,000 child migrant beds

President Biden, during a virtual meeting with Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador. Photo: Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

A briefing scheduled for President Biden this afternoon outlines the need for 20,000 beds to shelter an expected crush of child migrants crossing the U.S.-Mexico border, Axios has learned.

Why it matters: The rapid influx of unaccompanied children is building into the administration's first new crisis. A presentation created by the Domestic Policy Council spells out the dimensions with nearly 40 slides full of charts and details.

FBI director: Jan. 6 Capitol attack was domestic terrorism

The FBI views the Jan. 6 Capitol siege as an act of domestic terrorism, director Christopher Wray testified in his opening statement Tuesday before the Senate Judiciary Committee.

Why it matters: The FBI's designation of the attack as domestic terrorism puts the perpetrators "on the same level with ISIS and homegrown violent extremists," Wray said.

Sen. Martin Heinrich to introduce plan for Puerto Rico statehood

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) at a hearing on Feb. 23, 2021 in Washington, D.C. PHOTO: Jim Watson-Pool/Getty Images

U.S. Sen. Martin Heinrich (D-N.M.) and Rep. Darren Soto (D-Fla.) announced Tuesday they would introduce legislation to start the motions for Puerto Rico statehood.

Why it matters: More than 52% of Puerto Ricans voted last November in favor of statehood, three years after Hurricane Maria struck the island and caused one of the worst natural disasters in recorded history. It exposed the island's vulnerable position as a U.S. territory and its lack of resources to battle poverty.

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