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US Media Ratings Bodies Clarify Their Relationship

March 27 2024

In the US, the Media Rating Council (MRC) has issued a joint statement with the 'JIC' set up at the beginning of last year by OpenAP, the Video Advertising Bureau and a group of TV broadcasters - to clarify the distinct roles and approaches of the two bodies.

Brittany SlatteryThe 'JIC' saw ratings consortium OpenAP and TV ad trade group the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) team up with broadcasters Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, TelevisaUnivision and Warner Bros. Discovery, with the stated aim of setting cross-platform video measurement standards.

In April last year, Nielsen said it would not be participating in the 'JIC' unless it addressed concerns in areas including methodology, missing platforms, Nielsen IP, and its relationship to the MRC. Nielsen CEO of Global Audience Measurement Karthik Rao wrote to OpenAP Chief David Levy citing 'fundamental legal, operational and scientific issues' with the self-styled JIC's approach, and while accepting that it may have a part to play in getting measurement issues discussed, took issue with its suggestion that set-top boxes (STBs) and Smart TVs provide better data than panels.

OpenAP CMO Brittany Slattery (pictured), a former Comscore marketing leader, told news site adexchanger.com this week that its aims were not to compete with the MRC, but to further the common goal of standardizing measurement. In the joint statement, both groups acknowledge that MRC accreditation is a far more rigorous process than 'JIC' certification: 'While the JIC is focused on evaluating the transactional readiness of national, cross-platform, measurement solutions the MRC goes much further in conducting intensive audits of measurement methodology' - but as this process takes a long time, in many cases years, rapid changes in measurement technology and needs mean buyers are looking to experiment with currency alternatives to Nielsen, according to Slattery. The 'JIC' aims to offer a faster, baseline certification process giving buyers and sellers what they need to transact.

This process is still detailed, says Slattery, and distinguishes between the conditional certification granted to Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp in September, and full certification which requires deeper analysis of each potential currency's data and methodologies. Furthermore the statement clarifies that 'The JIC's goal is for measurement companies to hold both JIC certification as well as MRC accreditation'. Potential currency providers must be at least 'in active audit with the MRC' in order to be eligible for JIC certification.

George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC states: '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'.

AdExchanger provides a helpful summary of where key players currently stand:

  • Nielsen has MRC accreditation for national TV ratings, but not for local. It is not participating in the 'JIC'.
  • Comscore has MRC accreditation for national and local ratings (as of last week), in addition to conditional JIC certification.
  • iSpot has MRC accreditation for TV ad occurrence data, but not for audience measurement. It has conditional JIC certification.
  • VideoAmp does not have MRC accreditation (yet), although it does have conditional JIC certification.

Web sites: www.openap.tv and www.mediaratingcouncil.org .

All articles 2006-23 written and edited by Mel Crowther and/or Nick Thomas, 2024- by Nick Thomas, unless otherwise stated.

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