WarnerMedia Ad Sales has selected Comscore, iSpot.tv and VideoAmp as measurement partners after completing a “preliminary discovery process for alternative measurement,” the company said Thursday.
The decision comes as media buyers and sellers, including NBCUniversal and ViacomCBS, have begun testing alternative measurement frameworks after facing several issues with Nielsen, the de facto measurement provider for the $70 billion linear TV industry.
In September, Nielsen had its MRC accreditation for local and national TV suspended as a result of issues with its services, including undercounting audiences during the pandemic.
WarnerMedia will test solutions from Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp for the next six months, including during the 2022 upfronts, following an RFP process it began in November.
WarnerMedia will work with each partner to provide cross-platform, de-duplicated audience measurement for linear TV and digital channels. The aim is to provide advertisers with greater transparency on their return on investment when buying its inventory, said Andrea Zapata, EVP and head of research, data and insights at WarnerMedia.
“These are our preferred test-and-learn partners as different measurement companies, including Nielsen, [continue to] evolve work towards being able to measure across more advanced audience cohorts and viewership data,” she said. “When it comes to building our partnerships with advertisers, we want to make sure that we are evaluating our offering appropriately.”
While it continues to work with Nielsen, WarnerMedia expects to test other providers throughout the year to diversify its portfolio.
In addition to testing alternatives for reach and frequency metrics, the media company also plans to launch an RFP for attention metrics and outcomes-based providers in Q2, ahead of the upfronts.
By exploring alternatives, WarnerMedia is addressing the challenge marketers have faced with measurement since media consumption began to shift from linear to streaming, Zapata said.
“What we’re looking to account for is advanced audiences,” she said. “We want to make sure that we can account for audience segments [across] not just our linear footprint, but across all our digital properties.”
The move by WarnerMedia reflects a major movement in the TV industry to find alternative measurement solutions over the last year. In August, NBCUniversal launched a measurement RFP in response to growing frustration with Nieslen. In a statement, the media giant called on other companies to diversify their measurement processes and search for alternatives in a bid for “measurement independence.”
Since then, NBCUniversal has also said it is testing and learning with several partners, but continues to accept pitches.
On the media buying side, all of the major agency holding companies are testing VideoAmp as an alternative currency, along with other partners for alternative measurement.