Programmers are busily making their selections for Team Alternative Measurement.
On Thursday, Comcast announced its first pick: VideoAmp.
Specifically, Comcast will license its viewership data to VideoAmp.
“New types of TV and ad inventory have become much more widely available, including CTV and addressable linear,” said Claudio Marcus, VP of strategy at Comcast Advertising. “But measurement hasn’t kept up.”
“Individual forms of measurement [exist] for individual pools of inventory, but there hasn’t been much innovation on the cross-platform measurement [front],” Marcus said, “and it’s just not possible with the historical ratings approach.”
Comcast isn’t the only media company that’s been on the hunt for innovation in measurement partners. Lots of broadcasters are out there kicking tires and asking for more information from potential partners.
This year, NBCU selected iSpot as its alternative measurement provider, ViacomCBS (now Paramount) hooked up with VideoAmp and WarnerMedia is spreading the love three ways across iSpot, VideoAmp and Comscore.
VideoAmp is the first alt measurement provider to weave Comcast viewership data into its ratings product. Comcast looked at multiple alt measurement providers before deciding to license its data to VideoAmp.
Comcast “did a deep dive” to get more familiar with how each applicant’s technology is used on both the buy side and the sell side, said Marcus. Through that process, Comcast found that VideoAmp “has a good handle on what’s required to execute on cross-platform measurement,” he said.
Audience definition is one of the capabilities that carried VideoAmp across the finish line.
“We’ve moved from very broadly defined audiences to much more narrowly defined audiences,” Marcus said. “That’s really the foundation for the agreement.”
The bigger picture
The partnership between VideoAmp and Comcast doesn’t include attribution. But, taking a step back, currency measurement more broadly also needs to include related functions, including attribution, Marcus added.
“Measurement has to be actionable,” said Ross McCray, founder and CEO of VideoAmp. “Measurement alone is just going back in time and telling someone what happened. If you don’t do anything with your report other than say ‘thanks’ and go home, what’s the point?”
The deal with Comcast gives VideoAmp access to the scale of Comcast’s reach, which includes linear TV data from one in three US households, McCray said.
But VideoAmp won’t be the only alternative measurement provider Comcast takes on.
“We’re looking to work with others that are also going to help us accelerate innovation, competition and choice,” Marcus said. “It’s really [all] about that optionality.”
More options will help create a sense of healthy competition in the measurement race.
“There are a number of components within measurement that are expensive to support,” Marcus said. “We’d like to see some level of coopetition because it could help standardize measurement [across] different pools of inventory and different types of audiences in a way that’s relatively consistent.”
It’s for this reason that the primary goal of most alternative measurement providers, at least in the beginning, will be market adoption.
A currency requires a buyer and a seller, Marcus said. “The main KPI is [going to be] whether people are willing to use these measurement [solutions] as currency.”
This article has been edited.