Roku And Nielsen Continue Their Strategic Accord; Will The Olympics Be A Disaster for NBC?

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Roku And Nielsen, Rating In A Tree … 

… M-E-A-S-U-R-I-N-G.

Jokes aside, Roku has launched Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings on OneView, the rebranded dataxu DSP it acquired in 2019. 

With the partnership, Roku can promise that advertisers licensing the data only pay for ads served to a target audience, Broadcasting and Cable reports.

It’s a trend. LG Ads, the TV manufacturer’s media biz, launched a “Guaranteed Outcomes” product last week making the same promise based on its automatic content recognition capabilities. And A+E Networks can offer “new guarantees” for streaming inventory with DARs on Roku, says Tyler DeNicola, the broadcaster’s programmatic revenue and partnerships VP. 

The Nielsen announcement is timed so that Roku and broadcasters can test and incorporate DAR guarantees into upfront sales. Advertisers will test many new ad buying and attribution products during this year’s upfront event in May – and that’s somewhat unfortunate for Nielsen. Although it doesn’t mean the incumbent can’t offer its own alternatives. 

The strong relationship between Roku and Nielsen is also important in its own right. In 2015, Roku was the first streamer to include Nielsen ratings and has been a pivotal partner ever since. Last year, Roku even acquired Nielsen’s ACR and dynamic ad insertion businesses (formerly Gracenote and Sorenson Media, respectively), setting the stage for this week’s partnership.  

The Secret Olympics

At least from a ratings and sponsorship perspective, the Olympics are shaping up to be a disaster. 

NBC usually sends thousands of employees to Olympics host countries. But this year that’s scaled way back to only the technical teams needed to broadcast the events from Beijing. The commentary and studio teams will remain stateside, as will the sponsor relations and events teams.

All the storyline reporting about the host country and coming from the Olympic village is nixed. As such, mobile app-based audiences may evaporate. The 2020 Tokyo games drew almost 3 billion impressions on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, plus 14 million viewers on Twitch and 1.5 million on TikTok. Hard to do that, though, without content.

Last week, NBC struck a deal with TikTok to produce Olympics content. But a production deal this late in the game reeks of desperation. NBC needs sponsorship vehicles, because ratings will be an issue. How many people even know the opening ceremony is taking place on Friday? 

TikTok is the obvious choice, though, because, well … Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Twitch are all illegal in China. So much for social. 

The NBC Olympics Twitch account hasn’t even been updated with any sign that the Beijing games exist.

It’s Complicated

When Facebook falls in love, it falls hard. But its obsessions are often fleeting, and publishers and Facebook partners are left to pick up the pieces.

Remember when Facebook Watch was going to revolutionize online video? Or the great publisher “pivot to video” before that?

If you’re a publisher that invested in video production for Facebook, it’s hard to forget. 

Facebook also had a short-lived dalliance with robot shopping assistants for its Messenger app. Most recently, it ditched its cryptocurrency initiative, which launched to much fanfare in 2019.

Because of Facebook’s sheer size and mobile adoption, it’s hard for tech and media companies not to hitch their wagons to Facebook initiatives, even when they turn out to be hobby horses.

But is the same true of Facebook’s romance with the metaverse? This time Facebook put a ring on it with the name change, so it must be the real thing.

Or so you might think. Unfortunately, digital media has no choice but to wait and see. NYT’s Shira Ovide has more.

But Wait, There’s More!

Ryan Reynolds’ fave performance CTV ad tech platform, MNTN (formerly Steelhouse), raised $119 million, led by BlackRock and Fidelity. [Reuters]

Instacart and WPP announced an ad analytics partnership with an agency buyer certification program. [Ad Age]

Take-Two and Zynga. Microsoft and Activision Blizzard. Sony and Bungie. Each deal is interesting in its own right, but taken as a set they paint a picture of industry evolution that extends far beyond gaming. [Stratechery]

Advertisers in Germany demand an antitrust probe of Google’s ad tracking. [Bloomberg]

How Facebook is morphing into Meta. [NYT]

A data protection claim against US defendants highlights the uncertainty surrounding the territorial limits of the GDPR. [CSO]

You’re Hired!

Horizon hires Maxine Gurevich for its new SVP of culture intelligence role. [MediaPost]

Misty Muscatel Davis joins IRI as global CMO. [release]

Gimbal | true[X] names Charles Adelman as VP of business transformation and innovation. [release]

Lasso bolsters its executive team with the addition of Eric Shih as chief growth officer. [release]

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