Will Measurement Currency be the Biggest Topic at This Season's Ad Upfronts

Will Measurement Currency Be the Biggest Topic at This Season’s Ad Upfronts?

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With 2023’s TV upfronts just weeks away, major media companies and advertisers are gearing up for a new type of debate. While ​​networks promote their streaming services and fan-favorite shows in live stage presentations and one-on-one meetings, brands are asking more questions about measurement currency and the complexities that come with having multiple networks using their own measurement tools.

Nielsen will still be a major factor behind the scenes at this year’s upfronts, but alternative measurement providers like VideoAmp and iSpot are coming up more frequently in discussions between networks and advertisers. Brand advertisers will have to learn to navigate new measurement tools if they want to get the most juice out of their 2023 campaigns.

“This year, I would expect a relatively low percentage of upfront deals to be transacted on alternative currencies. However, as the industry tries to disrupt a multi-decade way of measuring ad campaigns, educating media buyers and sellers about data and identity in measurement currencies will be especially critical in upfront negotiations,” says Frans Vermeulen, Vice President of Market Development, Media & Entertainment Vertical at TransUnion.

A number of major media companies have already announced new measurement partners. Warner Media is partnering with VideoAmp and Comscore, and NBCU is partnering with VideoAmp and iSpot. Additional partnerships are expected to be announced in the coming weeks. 

What will the addition of new measurement currencies mean for advertisers in 2023?

“It adds tremendous complexity — and potential cost,” says Vermeulen.

According to Vermeulen, buyers and sellers up and down the supply should anticipate more complexity as a result of having multiple new measurement tools this year.

“Forecasting, yield management, understanding ROI, and all related ad operations across multiple currencies will get very messy if not managed well,” Vermeulen says. “That said, the economics of measurement are going to change dramatically over the next few years causing the industry — especially in TV — to take these operational challenges head on all in an effort to have more accurate measurement.”

As TV and streaming measurement moves to add more big data to pre-existing and panel-based measurement methods, Vermeulen says the importance of linking big data to accurate, scaled, and transparent identity will become “exponentially more important.” He sees having a qualified and independent identity services provider as one of the keys to validating panels, enabling accurate demographic profiles, and figuring out all the complexities of measuring, like linear TV together and de-duplicated digital streaming.

Vermeulen believes that having a consistent view of identity — ideally at the household level — will be critical in a world with multiple “currency grade” measurement providers. If any given campaign is being sold and measured by more than one currency provider, and those providers have different definitions of a household, that can get very messy very fast.

“Identity matters because it’s how advertising delivers on its digital promise: personalization at scale. It provides a consistent, audience-based view across devices, datasets and inventory sources,” Vermeulen says. “With a multikey understanding of identifiers, buyers can translate identity across publishers and platforms to understand consumer’s experiences as the streaming population and time spent streaming grows.

Stephanie Miles is a journalist who covers personal finance, technology, and real estate. As Street Fight’s senior editor, she is particularly interested in how local merchants and national brands are utilizing hyperlocal technology to reach consumers. She has written for FHM, the Daily News, Working World, Gawker, Cityfile, and Recessionwire.