iSpot secures MRC accreditation for national TV ad airings

Measurement company iSpot has secured accreditation from the Media Rating Council for verification of national TV ad airings, a move the vendor said sets the foundation for cross-platform ad-based measurement.

It marks iSpot’s first accreditation by the MRC and covers the company’s ability to accurately identify, verify and track national TV ads across 178 linear and broadcast networks.

“We sought accreditation of our national ad occurrence data based on our TV ad cataloging system because we know it to be the most robust, fastest and best solution of its kind for the marketplace, but also because it’s the unshakable foundation for so many products the industry is using to make transaction decisions,” said iSpot Founder and CEO Sean Muller in a statement.

iSpot’s real-time TV ad cataloging system was introduced in 2012 and to date has provided ad-level data to brands, agencies and networks for more than 2 million unique creatives across 63,672 brands and 179 industries. The vendor said its ad tracking data serves as the basis for a variety of applications that assist advertisers in verifying, optimizing and justifying their ad investments.

Accreditation by the MRC is meant to bolster the veracity of its standing as a TV ad catalog that can provide “the industry with a fast baseline of truth for traditional national inventories which serve as a basis for critical cross-platform measurement,” as ad inventory also becomes spread across streaming platforms.

“Congratulations to iSpot for successfully completing its initial foray into the MRC’s accreditation process, which will help to drive additional value to its customers,” said George W. Ivie, MRC executive director and CEO, in a statement. “iSpot’s newly accredited ad occurrence reporting helps to serve a crucial market need, and users can now have assurance that it meets the high bar necessary to achieve MRC accreditation.”

iSpot said earning MRC accreditation also gives more assurances to buy and sell sides in reconciling brand guidelines that come with ad investment, such as verifying pod replacement, competitive placement, and daypart, program and frequency commitments.

“iSpot is proud to achieve this milestone, as it signifies not just an historic accomplishment for our company, but one that the entire industry can benefit from,” Muller continued, adding that it drives value in a shift from program-based measurement “to an ad-centric model.”

iSpot’s national TV ad occurrence MRC accreditation happens against the backdrop of an evolving TV audience and ad measurement ecosystem, and after ratings giant Nielsen’s TV measurement came under industry scrutiny. Nielsen in April had its national TV ratings accreditation reinstated by the MRC this summer following a 19-month suspension related to concerns of undercounting during the pandemic. With Nielsen in question, major programmers like NBCUniversal have turned to iSpot, VideoAmp and others as they seek multiple alternatives for accurate measurement.

It marks the latest win for iSpot industry certification of its measurement tools. Just last week the OpenAP-led U.S. Joint Industry Committee, which represents nearly all major programmers, announced iSpot was among vendors that secured conditional certification as a cross-platform currency for TV ad buying and selling, and will now move on to the second phase of data evaluation. Comscore and VideoAmp were the other two vendors that passed the first phase, which included scoring with input from both buyers and sellers. Nielsen is not participating in the JIC. The JIC is not yet requiring MRC accreditation as part of its initial rubric for certifying cross-platform currencies, which is something Nielsen desires.

As TVREV’s Alan Wolk wrote in a recent column on StreamTV Insider noted, Nielsen is in the process of getting MRC accreditation for the vendor’s big data and panel products, “and has been pushing hard to ensure that the JIC only uses companies that are MRC certified, which, to be real, means Nielsen.”

“The other players are in the process of getting their certification, but it is a long and grueling process, and it costs a boatload of money,” the analyst continued.

And iSpot, as seen with today’s announcement, has been successful in certain accreditations by the MRC, although this is notably for advertising occurrences – separate from the JIC’s currency-focused certification for transacting on TV ad buying and selling.

In terms of the JIC conditional certification, Wolk congratulated iSpot, Comscore and VideoAmp.

“Now go out and prove to advertisers and their agencies why having more than one currency provider is a good thing,” he wrote.

iSpot is also bolstering its measurement prowess via M&A, having just acquired 605, a measurement company formed in 2016 by current AMC Networks CEO Kristin Dolan.