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Nielsen's dominance continues

Aug 15, 2023
An illustration of someone putting a coin in a TV box.

Illustration: Rebecca Zisser/Axios

The TV industry's shift to multiple media measurement currencies is slow-moving, executives told Axios in a virtual panel hosted by the Video Advertising Bureau last week.

Why it matters: Nielsen, which was taken private last year, has remained the most used currency for TV buyers and sellers to transact. Its reign continues even as stakeholders question its reliability and as VideoAmp, iSpot and other new companies have raised hundreds of millions of dollars to compete.

What they're saying: "Transitions take time, so there's lots of infrastructure investment that's needed — not just from companies like iSpot but across the industry," said Steve Murtos, senior vice president for brand partnerships at iSpot.

  • Michael Piner, executive vice president of advanced advertising at MediaHub Worldwide, said his company did side-by-side testing of different currency providers last year and will be using new currencies to guarantee upfront buys "for a handful of advertisers" this year.
  • "This will be another critical year in testing these and learning how to integrate them and clear the hurdles that we had in integrating these partners just within our process," he said.
  • Elsa Blumberg, assistant vice president, client analytics at DirecTV, agreed that the industry is still in a "test and learn phase."

Of note: DirecTV has been using "alternative" currencies to Nielsen for the past 10 years by working with Comscore, Blumberg noted.

  • "During that time, we've guaranteed billions of dollars in addressable advertising," Blumberg said, meaning DirecTV relied on Comscore to measure the reach and audience targeting for its ad campaigns.

What's next: Nielsen plans to broadly release Nielsen One, its modernized solution that measures audiences across screens, in 2024.

  • The industry is moving toward new metrics, no longer relying on gross ratings points and instead switching to impressions. That transition is "needed to marry digital and linear, but that is a sea change for many clients," said Piner of MediaHub.
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