NBCUniversal lines up partners to work on new TV audience measurement

NBCUniversal today revealed an extensive list of partners for its Measurement Innovation Forum, which seeks new TV metrics as pressure mounts for Nielsen.

The list of brands, holding companies, and trade bodies participating in the process includes the 4A’s, Canvas Worldwide, Citi, Dentsu, Edelman, Ford, GroupM, Hispanic Marketing Council, Horizon Media, IAB, L’Oreal, the MRC, OpenAP, Pfizer, Rocket Mortgage, Target, VAB, Volkwagen and Wayfair.

“Each partner will have a seat at the table to investigate, share and receive feedback at scale on new measurement yardsticks to help build new measurement blueprint for advertising’s future. And judging from the 80 responses NBCU has received to our measurement [request for proposal], it’s clear there are companies with cutting-edge capabilities that deserve our industry’s consideration,” wrote Kelly Abcarian, executive vice president of measurement and impact for advertising and partnerships at NBCUniversal.

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NBCU has already joined VAB’s Measurement Innovation Task Force and the new forum is meant to help supplement the work of the ANA, VAB, and OpenAP on cross-platform measurement. The company added that given the specialized auditing role of the MRC, the organization’s participation on the forum will be “observer” to maintain its independence.

“To be clear, NBCU has no interest in building another walled garden or monolithic measurement system. Nor are we aiming to duplicate efforts or replace any industry initiatives already underway. NBCU will stand shoulder-to-shoulder with all our partners and our industry, and play our part in driving real, meaningful progress,” wrote Abcarian. “By bringing more chairs to the table and sharing information widely and transparently with all our partners, we hope to help build a better measurement future for everyone.”

NBCU’s new TV measurement efforts are gaining momentum while Nielsen is fending off criticism from programmers frustrated with the company’s metrics. Nielsen said last month that is will push toward impressions-based buying and selling in local markets in conjunction with the integration of broadband-only homes into its local measurement metrics in January 2022.

"Nielsen is committed to measuring all audiences and the complete video consumption across the local marketplace," said Nielsen CEO David Kenny in a statement. "Impressions are the great equalizer across all screens, programs, listeners and viewers. Nielsen's move to prioritize reporting impressions will help standardize the way it measures ads and content, enabling greater comparability across National, Local and Digital and is in line with Nielsen's initiative to drive comparable metrics which are foundational to Nielsen ONE."