U.S. JIC certifies Comscore, VideoAmp TV measurement currencies

The U.S. Joint Industry Committee this week certified measurement vendors Comscore and VideoAmp as transactable cross-platform national currencies for TV ad buying and selling ahead of the Upfront, in the next phase of the industry body’s data evaluation efforts. While it signals progress for the JIC, the organization is still working to clarify its role in the industry and Disney remains absent among major programmer participants.   

Announced Wednesday, Comscore and VideoAmp mark the first measurement vendors with data products certified as transactable currencies by the JIC, an organization formed in January 2023 by major publishers, OpenAP, and the VAB. Notably absent from the JIC’s endorsement is measurement company iSpot, which was granted conditional currency certification alongside Comscore and VideoAmp last September.

According to OpenAP, the vendor wasn’t certified as iSpot didn’t submit certain data for full evaluation because it’s undertaking methodology changes. Rather than need to resubmit data with revised methodology, iSpot is waiting until June when a final decision on its currency will be made during the next JIC certification window. In the meantime, iSpot maintains its conditional JIC currency certification status.

In certifying currencies, the U.S. JIC aims to bring a level of confidence to TV media buyers and sellers about cross-platform data they transact deals based on, amid fragmentation for both the TV advertising and viewing ecosystem. It’s worked to define common standards around cross-platform measurement, with a goal of providing more transparency into the transactional readiness of currencies and enabling more competition from relative newer players in the measurement space.

The JIC’s formation follows issues with TV ratings from incumbent vendor Nielsen and an industry shift towards more advanced measurement and new or alternate currencies that go beyond traditional metrics. Nielsen, which separately had certain Media Rating Council accreditations suspended and reinstated and is seeking MRC endorsement for its own big data measurement tools, has declined to participate in the JIC. 

“While the currencies and resulting deal structures are decided solely between buyers and sellers, we cannot drive lasting transformation of the industry individually – we need consensus, compromise, and a shared understanding across all parties to move this industry forward,” said Travis Scoles, SVP of Advanced Advertising at Paramount Global and Chairman of the U.S. JIC’s Board of Directors, in a statement. “The collaboration over the last year to bring buyers and sellers to the same table to work in partnership with the measurement companies, who have dedicated an incredible amount of time, energy and resources to this process, is a testament to this industry’s dedication to progress as we build a more sustainable measurement ecosystem for the future."

In evaluating vendors’ measurement data JIC members conducted more than 670 tests to ensure transactability, with analysis spanning requirements like transparency, completeness, methodology checks and stability of data – based on a set of baseline requirements buyers and sellers created that were released by the JIC last year.

In addition to the holistic currency certification, the JIC also analyzed transactability of data across personified demos, total households and audiences. It found Comscore and VideoAmp transactable across both traditional metrics and cross-platform exact spots across the Advanced Audiences and Households classifications, but determined the vendors need improvements to be transactable at scale for Personified Demos “based on the need to provide acceptable personified reach metrics, a core requirement outlined by media buyers.”

“We are proud of our entire team and in particular our Tech and Product folks, for g,etting us to this important milestone,” said Pete Bradbury, chief commercial and growth officer at VideoAmp in a statement. “We are celebrating this moment, and view it as a step forward on our path to becoming the preferred currency for the industry."

The certification is valid for a two-year period ending December 2025, with a mid-term audit taking place in November of each year for transparency into any methodology changes. Certified currency vendors also get access to a harmonized streaming viewership dataset being developed by the JIC through OpenAP.

“The certification of Comscore by the Joint Industry Committee (JIC) marks a significant milestone in the landscape of media measurement, it heralds a new era of accuracy and reliability in television and digital currency metrics,” said Steve Bagdasarian, chief commercial officer of Comscore, in a statement.

Disney not on board

Despite broad collaboration and relative speed in granting currency certifications, not everyone is completely behind or clear on the JIC’s industry role and efforts.

In addition to Nielsen not seeking certification, Disney is not part of the U.S. JIC, which includes other major programmers Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision, and Warner Bros. Discovery as founding members, as well as AMC Networks, Scripps, and Hallmark Media.

During a fireside chat at the CIMM East conference Wednesday, Disney EVP of Category Sales and Client Solutions Lisa Valentino was asked what it would take for the media company to change its mind about JIC participation. The ad exec said Disney is all about collaboration but suggested it isn’t participating, in part, because major tech players holding a large portion of the streaming supply aren’t involved.

“When you look at the folks that are sitting at that table, I could give you four other consortiums in the industry that have the exact same people…The majority players in the streaming marketplace are not sitting at that table, and that’s a problem,” Valentino said. “We spend a lot of time collaborating with Google, Amazon, Apple, Disney. The majority of streaming supply sits with those four parties. Where are they?”

She also emphasized interoperability, flexibility and diversity, where Disney has built its own ad tech stack and does business with over 100 vendors, noting it’s not a one-size-fits-all for advertisers. And while Valentino said Disney’s not against endorsement of measurement partners by bodies like the JIC, she indicated the ecosystem is still too in flux for certification be meaningful without separate work that’s already being done by companies.

“Some of the announcements that came out today, if we didn’t do the work with those vendors years ago, it wouldn’t matter,” Valentino said Wednesday. “So there’s a lot of work that has to happen behind the scenes before like a third-party consortium comes in with…a Good Housekeeping seal.”


Another aspect that’s caused some confusion is the JIC’s role compared to the Media Rating Council, a long-time industry regulator that grants ratings and measurement accreditations in what’s understood to be a lengthy and expensive process.

In an effort to clarify, the JIC last week put out a statement describing its own role and that of the MRC’s as complementary. Where the JIC is focused on evaluating transaction readiness of cross-platform measurement products, it said the MRC “goes much further” with intensive measurement methodology audits. The JIC said it intends for measurement companies to hold both certification and MRC accreditation, with one requirement of JIC currency certification being that vendors have a national linear and/or cross-platform currency product that’s in active audit with the MRC. In addition, the JIC plans to collaborate with the MRC to ensure data form the forthcoming Streaming Data Service is as aligned with MRC standards as possible.

The announcement also contained a plug from MRC Executive Director and CEO George W. Ivie.

“It is ultimately up to the buyer and seller to determine the currencies on which they are willing to transact. the work the JIC is doing to bring forward a baseline for transactability inclusive of privacy requirements is valuable to enable first party data in television measurement,” said Ivie in a statement.

Some measurement companies have already sought endorsements from both the MRC and JIC. For instance, iSpot has MRC accreditation for national TV ad airings, while Comsore recently secured MRC accreditation for its National and Local TV Measurement.

In announcing JIC certification, Comscore’s commerical chief pointed to validation of its data by both the JIC and MRC.

“Endorsements by both the MRC and the JIC underscores Comscore's adherence to rigorous standards of data integrity and precision. It offers broadcasters, advertisers, and media buyers a robust, validated tool for gauging audience engagement and media consumption,” Bagdasarian stated.