Comscore Seeking National And Local MRC Accreditation; Walmart Connect Rolling Out A DSP

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A Shot Across The Bows

Comscore is capitalizing on Nielsen’s latest stumble. The company told AdExchanger in an email that it asked to be audited by the MRC for both national and local TV measurement accreditation – a clear dig at Nielsen’s MRC disaccreditation for National TV ratings. MediaPost reports that the MRC’s Comscore audit will begin no later than October. NBCUniversal, meanwhile, said that the industry’s reliance on Nielsen’s panel-based ratings is misplaced since viewers consume content across more and more streaming services and devices – those audiences are harder for Nielsen to quantify. NBCU said in an email earlier this week that it issued an RFP to more than 50 measurement companies – including Nielsen – for measurement alternatives. Ed Papazian, president of Media Dynamics, said in a comment to MediaPost’s report that Nielsen’s missteps are overblown and that it will remain entrenched as the default TV metric. “At best, some of the proposed alternatives may be used on a selective basis as add-ons to Nielsen data while Nielsen moves in its own, cautious way towards supplying what is wanted,” he wrote. 

The Retail Garden

Walmart Connect, the retailer’s ad platform unit, is inching closer to the launch of its self-serve DSP, backed by The Trade Desk’s platform and inventory access. The Walmart DSP will go live in the second half of October – in time for brands to put it to use during the holiday shopping season. Walmart Connect’s go-to-market pitch is crystalizing, too; it’s taking the opposite approach as Amazon, which centralized its data and audiences within the walled garden. “We’re not trying to be a walled garden,” Rich Lehrfeld, SVP of Walmart’s media business, told Adweek. By integrating with The Trade Desk, campaigns powered by Walmart data could be compared in an apples-to-apples environment with other exchange inventory. The Trade Desk had a similar integration with Amazon Fire TV until the end of 2020, when Fire TV quietly ended its third-party partner program (having already expelled dataxu in 2019, after it was acquired by Roku).

Who’s Popping

Inc Magazine released its annual list of fast-growing private companies in the US, ranked according to revenue growth over a three-year period. The Inc 5000 features hundreds of companies in the ads and marketing segment, ranging from digital agencies to CTV enablers to mobile app platforms. An idle scroll turned up mobile app platform Liftoff (319% growth), TripleLift (304%), Mediawallah (348%), Connext Digital (317%), Hawke Media (132%) and Tinuiti (114%). A key theme this year appears to be verticalization of digital advertising, with a number of specialists serving B2B, insurance, health care, cannabis and other discrete sectors. 

When The Ship Hits The Fan

The global shipping system is straining, perhaps worse than last year. CNN reports that one Chinese port terminal, the world’s third largest container shipping hub, is shut for weeks due to a dock worker’s COVID-19 infection. China’s other main ports were overwhelmed already. Not to mention oil production dropping due to the delta variant. Even before those recent issues, the cost to ship a large container from China to the US went from $3,000 before the pandemic to $20,000 this summer, and it could double by the end of the year. CNN calls this “troubling news for retailers and holiday shoppers.” And fair enough. But it’s ominous for advertising, too. Big brands are connecting physical manufacturing and delivery supply chains with marketing, as they consolidate their first-party databases. But there’s a straightforward connection here. If there are fewer new Roku devices, Nintendo systems, coats at Macy’s, etc., come the holidays, all those global brands will hold back ad budgets accordingly. 

But Wait, There’s More!  

Apollo Global Management’s acquisition of Verizon Media creates a precarious situation for execs. [CNBC]

Facebook sent a ton of traffic to a Chicago Tribune story. So why is everyone mad at them? [NiemanLab]

How WaPo enhanced site UX and boosted Core Web Vitals scores. [blog]

Netflix and video games. [Matthew Ball]

Esports companies are using adaptive, overlaid ads to engage fans. [Digiday]

You’re Hired

Target tapped former Google Retail exec Sarah Travis to lead its media business. [Ad Age]

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