Home Measurement The JIC Certifies Comscore And VideoAmp As National TV Currencies

The JIC Certifies Comscore And VideoAmp As National TV Currencies

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The broadcaster-backed joint industry committee (JIC) has been in the weeds since last summer, evaluating the most promising TV currencies that could be alternatives to Nielsen.

Now, the JIC is finally ready to reveal its results.

On Wednesday, the JIC announced it will certify Comscore and VideoAmp as national TV currencies ahead of May’s upfront negotiations. In this case, certification means that both measurement companies have accurate and census-representative data sets, which the JIC considers the baseline requirements for buyers and sellers to transact.

Now that two potential Nielsen alternatives have passed the JIC’s sniff test, buyers and sellers can decide for themselves which currencies best suit their needs, said Travis Scoles, SVP of advanced advertising at Paramount. (Paramount was one of the JIC’s founding members.)

As certified national TV currencies, Comscore and VideoAmp will receive access to the JIC’s streaming data set when it launches next year. The data set will feature audience data from programmers and agencies that are part of the JIC.

Ad measurement company iSpot did not receive full certification, but maintains the conditional certification it earned last September. It also gets another shot to apply for full certification in June.

Currency providers that have full JIC certification must apply for recertification every two years.

Wait – elaborate

The JIC’s certification process was two-pronged, starting with conditional certification.

In September, the JIC gave all three Nielsen competitors (iSpot, Comscore and VideoAmp) conditional certification, on the grounds that each has transparent access to census-level data.

The second half of the certification process was a more intensive analysis of a potential currency’s data sets. The JIC checked for errors in data sets and whether a vendor can reliably forecast reach and frequency.

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An iSpot spokesperson told AdExchanger it hadn’t been rejected – the company actually decided to apply for full certification in June instead. The extended timeline is because iSpot is still actively updating its data and methodology, including integrating TV measurement and attribution company 605, which it acquired in September.

The delay is fair enough, considering the JIC can’t finish evaluating iSpot based on an incomplete data set, according to Brittany Slattery, CMO of OpenAP, the data activation platform behind the JIC.

But, to be clear, iSpot is “still very much in the consideration set” as a video currency, Slattery added.

Besides, obtaining conditional certification wasn’t easy: iSpot had to prove it had a data privacy and governance strategy in place, big data sets with return-path data (as in set-top box data and automatic content recognition data, not just panels), transparency into match rates and integrations with clean rooms and programmatic platforms.

The hurdles ahead

But certification doesn’t solve every TV measurement challenge. Linear and connected TV ad buying still work quite differently, despite how hard the industry pushes for convergence.

Linear TV ad buys are bought and measured based on the average number of either commercial minutes or viewers throughout a given show or movie over several days. Both metrics are based on age and gender demographics.

Streaming TV, on the other hand, measures individual impressions at the ad server level, similar to digital media. In turn, agencies buy streaming ad spots based on actual impressions.

That split is simply due to how the technology behind TV ad sales works, Paramount’s Scoles said.

And while this difference may complicate the process of cross-platform campaign planning, it’s more important that a video currency fits into the ad buying technology that agencies and publishers already use, he said. Otherwise, buying on a new currency would be a painstakingly manual process.

The difference between linear and streaming tech also means currency providers have a harder time guaranteeing demo-based reach across both linear and streaming media, since the two channels use different transaction metrics.

Certified currency providers “are prepared on the linear front for transacting on demos across aggregated impressions” or commercial minutes, according to the JIC’s statement explaining its certification results. However, “as of now, no measurement company is certified for transacting cross-platform demos.”

I spy with my little eye … cross-platform demos

One reason iSpot says it’s waiting until June to apply for JIC certification is because it’s still fleshing out what it considers a key value prop: cross-platform demos.

Compared to its competitors, iSpot is more of a specialist in bringing an online attribution mentality to CTV. This emphasis on attribution led to its acquisition of 605, with a goal of using more outcomes-based data to plan and optimize campaigns.

ISpot is also better known for audience demos than for advanced TV audiences. So, paired with its emphasis on cross-platform attribution, iSpot hopes to become “the first measurement provider certified for audience measurement [using demos],” according to the company’s statement in response to the JIC’s decision.

May the best measurement provider win.

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