VIEQUES, PR – Six years ago, the NewFronts were birthed to serve a burgeoning video marketplace. Sellers hoped to cash in on consumer viewing behavioral shifts while charging advertisers broadcast television-like CPM’s.

“Guess what happened? Nobody was buying,” recalled Carl Fremont, Global Chief Digital Officer at media agency MEC.

That’s because there was no measurement around digital viewing and digital really couldn’t be compared to broadcast buys, Fremont said in a keynote interview at the recent Beet.TV Executive Retreat titled Video Everywhere! The Transformation of Media & Advertising.

“It was a complete buyer’s market,” Fremont added, in response to a question from Furious Corp. CEO Ashley J. Swartz. “It forced us to really look at the measurement pieces of it, both the planning side and the buying side.”

While some things have changed since those first NewFronts efforts, much remains the same in the absence of uniform digital video audience measurement. This is a source of much frustration given the universal appreciation for the sight, sound and motion characteristics of advertising messages delivered every second of the day to ubiquitous screens small and large.

“It’s so fragmented,” Fremont continued. “It’s still a confusing marketplace.”

Swartz sees it more an issue of EQ (emotional intelligence) as opposed to IQ, requiring buyers and sellers to come together and forge solutions. “It’s not about cherry picking problems. It’s about providing solutions,” she said.

Both agreed that removing complexity from the ecosystem would lower costs as more brand marketers embrace addressability and an audience-based world. “We do need one way of measurement. We need one way of planning,” said Fremont.

One of the challenges of planning video buys is there’s no line of sight to inventory, particularly premium video. A system that could look across different platforms like OTT and connected TV would be akin to utopia if buyers could gear the right content to the right consumer experience in the right channel.

To Fremont, programmatic is a key component but not just for the sake of technological convenience. There still must be human interaction among partners whose interests are common but whose approaches vary.

“It has to be done in a dialogue manner,” said Fremont. “The relationship that I think we need to have is less about the complexity of the buy side and more about how do we use data to find audiences at scale.”

This video is part of a series produced at the Beet.TV Executive Retreat in Vieques. The event and series is presented by Videology and 605. For more videos from the series, please visit this page.