Home Digital TV and Video Paramount Has Some Advice For Buyers And Sellers That Want To Use Alt Currencies

Paramount Has Some Advice For Buyers And Sellers That Want To Use Alt Currencies

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The TV industry loves talking about measurement alternatives to Nielsen. But when will broadcasters and advertisers actually start using them?

On Thursday, Paramount released an initial template for TV publishers and advertisers with guidance on how to use new video currencies. Paramount is also one of several broadcasters to join the joint industry committee (JIC), which released its own first pass at standards on Monday for video currencies.

Paramount’s blueprint is specifically designed for the data scientists that will work with these currencies on behalf of publishers and agencies because the workflows need consistency just as much as the currencies themselves do.

“We’re trying to get the industry on the same page in terms of what currency standardization looks like,” Travis Scoles, SVP of advanced advertising at Paramount, told AdExchanger.

And time is of the essence. The JIC plans to have its currency standards ready in time for the 2024 upfronts, and, in the meantime, transacting is the only way for the industry to start getting comfortable using new currency, Scoles said.

Name of the game

The most important lesson Paramount learned during its own trials of new currencies is to not allow testing to mess with current relationships.

“The number one thing we do not want to do is impact any of the existing transaction workflows between buyers and sellers,” Scoles said.

The industry needs a common technique to manage all the different currencies on the market. New products or workflows specific to any one currency would only complicate things (and oh boy, is the TV advertising space already complicated enough).

Paramount’s goal is to “set up a framework” so publishers can manage multiple currencies within a single system for campaign planning and activation, said Michele Stone, Paramount’s VP of advanced advertising product and planning.

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Paramount’s guidelines can be split into two areas of focus: quality assurance for new data and how to actually use that data once it passes the QA test.

Publishers, for example, should check both the accuracy and stability of currency data for long-term forecasting, such as upfront pricing. Specifically, they should ensure that the household data sets of alt currencies use specific audience segments. Publishers should also identify whether a currency’s reporting on viewership trends and show rankings align with their own expectations.

Paramount suggests that publishers use clean room tech to ingest and analyze data from new currencies. They should also use clean rooms when building audience segments with IDs from multiple currency vendors.

Paramount also recommends using cloud-based software for safe data storage, in line with other efforts to make clean room tech more interoperable. It’s no wonder clean rooms are top of mind in TV town – they’re the only way to aggregate viewing data from multiple sources without stumbling over the privacy tripwire.

Speaking of viewing data, Paramount calls attention to the fact that currency providers are still incorporating new data sets, particularly via automatic content recognition (ACR).

“ACR data has a different set of risks than set-top box data,” Scoles said, referring to privacy concerns that come with linking viewing history to a unique ID. For that reason, publishers need the right tools to fully assess any data provider that has ACR “baked into their systems.”

Divide and conquer

Paramount’s aim is to make its guidelines broadly applicable across the entire industry, but acknowledges that there are inherent differences between currencies.

For example, Paramount has different suggestions for integrating data for demo-based versus advanced audience planning.

Publishers planning demo-based ad sales should compare log files of ad exposures to translate into impressions. But advanced audience planning requires agencies to segment audiences before matching their identifiers with a publisher and their currency vendor of choice.

While there’s been a sharp increase in advanced audience-based advertising, “it’s a very safe bet to say that demo-based advertising will continue to stay alive and well for the near future,” Scoles said. “Viable currencies need to be able to support both workflows.”Comic: I Want My CTV!

Competition conniptions

Still, measurement vendors are competing to differentiate beyond audience guarantees, including with offerings such as cross-screen attribution and out-of-home TV measurement.

That competition is where the difference between measurement and currency comes in. Currency is the basis of deal agreements between buyers and sellers, so it needs to be consistent.

Paramount doesn’t believe there should be any competitive advantage in currency, Scoles said. All currencies have to meet the same baseline standards to make negotiation and transaction between both sides possible.

But measurement methodology has more wiggle room to be different because it takes place after a transaction happens.

“We’re already seeing distinctions in the metrics providers are choosing to measure the efficacy of campaigns,” Scoles said, including frequency, attribution and, of course, the industry’s new favorite: attention.

These different measurement offerings are useful for marketers that want a better understanding of how their campaign performed.

And measurement providers are leaning into the competition. NBCUniversal recently published a vendor comparison that suggests some currencies are better at advanced audience guarantees than others and vice versa. But Paramount stressed that its guidelines are not meant as a vendor comparison, but rather as a template for how the rest of the TV industry should be evaluating those vendors across the board.

The measurement field will continue to branch out into new specializations, but when it comes to currency, consistency is key – and standardization requires collaboration with the rest of the industry.

Paramount considers its initial guidelines to be a “living document” that other publishers and agencies can and should weigh in on, Scoles said, adding that both broadcasters and buyers shared feedback while Paramount was writing its blueprint.

As publishers, he said, “it’s on us to give our measurement partners feedback on how to evolve their products to meet our needs.”

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