Buyers And Broadcasters Are Impatient, But Recognize Nielsen And Comscore Have ‘A Tough Road’

Nielsen and Comscore take a lot of heat for moving too slowly and failing to provide the sort of cross-channel measurement buyers and sellers say they crave.

But cut ’em some slack, said Beth Rockwood, SVP of portfolio research at Turner.

“Both Nielsen and Comscore have made good advances in the last year and they’re really focused on the pieces that are important to us,” said Rockwood, speaking at a Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement event in New York City on Thursday. “Could it be better? Sure. But the conversation about what we really want and need – we have to keep it going.”

The conversation between agencies, broadcasters, advertisers and the third-party measurers, however, doesn’t always flow.

There’s a lot of earnest work being done, acknowledged Radha Subramanyam, chief research and analytics officer at CBS, but it’s not necessarily helping all the different industry stakeholders achieve their various goals. In the broadcaster’s case, that’s an inability to deduplicate measurement across both advertising and content.

“What I would want is for all of the providers to stay close to all of us and to listen really hard,” Subramanyam said. “You’re putting a lot of products in the marketplace, but we want to make sure you’re listening to us – if you bring us products that don’t ultimately move our business forward, we’re not going to get anywhere.”

And now the upfronts are around the corner again, yet deduplicating audiences across channels is still at best a very imperfect science, and truly comparable cross-channel impressions are still on the to-do list.

TV and digital are “reasonably well measured,” but there’s a lot of room for improvement, particularly on the digital side, said Ed Gaffney, director of implementation research at GroupM.

“For years digital would say, ‘We’re accountable’ – and we would say, ‘No, you’re countable,’” Gaffney said. “We can’t go through another upfront without something in place that gives us a firmer and broader view of our audience, what they’re watching, what they’ll do next.”

But even when that something comes, there are bound to be complaints.

“We’re going to criticize the hell out of it,” Gaffney joked. “The data providers have a tough road.”

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