Experiments with Nielsen alternatives increase but questions remain, VAB finds

Experiments with Nielsen alternatives increase but questions remain, VAB finds

Dive Brief:

  • At the 2022-2023 Upfronts, 85% of networks and advertisers increased their use of or investment in a number of measurement providers, according to the findings of a newly released survey by the VAB Measurement Innovation Task Force.

  • Over one-quarter of respondents said that 25% to 49% of their Upfront advertisers will actively use or test a measurement option other than Nielsen, with 175 advertisers engaged with TV publishers in the use or testing of new measurement solutions.

  • While the survey shows that the ad marketplace is embracing new measurement options other than Nielsen, there is not yet widespread adoption of an alternative currency or measurement solution. The survey findings represent 90% of the TV ad revenue market, including major TV publishers and majority of single networks.

Dive Insight:

The post-Upfronts survey of the TV advertising market found that networks and advertisers are adopting new currencies and measurement solutions at higher levels of use and investment, but have yet to widely coalesce around solutions that would replace the embattled Nielsen as the industry's primary currency.

"[The survey] results reveal an ad marketplace embracing newer measurement options with escalating urgency, and the increased competition in all-screens/ cross-platform TV measurement is shaping up to be a bigger realized win for marketers searching for business and brand growth—sooner rather than later," said Sean Cunningham, president and CEO of the VAB, in a press release.

While 85% of respondents to the VAB survey have increased their use of measurement alternatives, over one-quarter have seen less than half of their advertisers actively use or test a non-Nielsen measurement option. NBCUniversal's June announcement that 40% of its Upfront business would be conducted outside traditional “age and gender” guarantees is likely on the high-end of such adoption. NBCU this year elevated iSpot.tv as a currency for national ad buys and has been openly working to boost alternatives to Nielsen.

Even without widespread adoption, 175 advertisers engaging with publishers around new solutions is a sizable part of the TV ad market. Automotive, CPG, telecom, QSR and pharmaceuticals represent the top categories experimenting with new measurement solutions. Measurement solutions for multiscreen TV formats were most frequently applied to linear TV, streaming, connected TV and over-the-top.

While pre-Upfront chatter suggested that alternative measurement and currencies could make a big splash this year, the results confirm that while interest and investment have increased, it is still early days for meaningful alternative measurement. Comscore, VideoAmp, iSpot, Samba TV, TVSquared by Innovid, EDO and 605 reported being used as currency in some TV deals, but the VAB report did not breakout or quantify the business done on alternative currencies, Ad Age reported.