Nielsen Challenger Symphony Advanced Media Releases Cross-Screen Measurement

CharlesIn the world of independent, third-party measurement, Symphony Advanced Media (SAM) is David and Nielsen is Goliath.

But the San Francisco-based media measurement and research firm is looking to take on incumbents like Nielsen and comScore with Tuesday’s launch of cross-screen measurement tool VideoPulse.

A+E, Viacom, NBC and Warner Brothers’ Media Research and Insights are beta testing the tool. Although it is primarily designed for media owners and broadcasters to determine cross-screen media consumption, there are also implications for advertisers.

“The reason we exist is the media market has changed so dramatically, but the measurement of media really hasn’t,” said SAM’s president and CEO, Charles Buchwalter. “If they can have a lens into how their desired targets are consuming media on a real-time basis, that helps them optimize their media spend.”

SAM may be a newer name in media measurement, but its major differentiator is its mobile device meter and panel technology. SAM’s mobile device panel consists of 15,000 opted-in devices, but it will clear 25,000 this year with a goal of surpassing 50,000 by the end of the year. 

Although 15,000 doesn’t seem like a lot, Buchwalter noted SAM’s panel data is not based on a household sample, but rather the individual’s demographic and behavioral data sets.

“[SAM is] a company with smart, experienced leadership and a product that adds real value in cross-platform measurement today,” said Dave Morgan, founder and CEO of Simulmedia. “The mobile panel component and apples-to-apples connection to radio and TV in the same panel makes it a strong play.”

Because SAM’s tools unify things like mobile and linear TV viewership data, it is used by a number of media companies and consumer platforms such as Twitter to determine how social media impacts ad consumption.

Buchwalter said SAM tracks video and TV viewership through automatic content recognition, audio fingerprinting technology embedded at the program level.

Warner Brothers Studios uses the technology to push content to tell stories and to determine opportunities to monetize through ads.

“Based on what we’ve seen so far, we’re hopeful VideoPulse will capture more of the whole picture of consumer’s television consumption,” Liz Huszarik, EVP of Warner Brothers’ Media Research and Insights, told AdExchanger. “It should help us fill in some gaps against all of these distribution methods and platforms among linear, DVR, video on demand … even YouTube.”

Huszarik said programmers want more than a ratings proxy, particularly if a majority of its viewers are moving to mobile or over-the-top viewing.

“This will definitely help us determine what episodes are made available where and when,” she added, “and understand dynamic consumer behavior, since they’re viewing on mobile apps and the PC, not just the TV screen.”

VideoPulse is generally available and will be sold as a standalone product or as part of Symphony’s MediaPulse analytic platform.


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