Lyle Schwartz isn’t known for sitting back and letting things happen at their own pace, particularly when it comes to television and video audience measurement. GroupM’s President of Investment for North America feels he’s at “the 50-yard line” in his company’s push for the industry to be able to measure commercial impressions across screens, despite the number of players involved.
In this interview with Beet.TV, Schwartz recaps his push for commercial impression measurement while sharing his thoughts and concerns about the new audience-targeting consortium of Fox, Turner and Viacom called OpenAP.
While he thought that Nielsen’s Total Content Ratings “was a very good start” a few years ago, GroupM’s clients were increasingly “rumbling” about TV ratings being down and commercial pricing going in the opposite direction. That was the impetus for the media investment giant to meet with an unidentified network, as originally reported by Variety, to explore the concept of counting commercial impressions and, in the process, identifying six barriers to completion.
Thereafter followed meetings with Nielsen, comScore, five broadcast networks, the Video Advertising Bureau, 20 media sales heads and assorted researchers. Schwartz predicts progress on the initiative will be made by “multiple research companies,” not just Nielsen and comScore.
“There could be a joint venture with the cable operators, it could be a third party that pulls all the data together, or it could be one of these technology companies like an Adobe who has massive knowledge of how get all this data integrated together,” Schwartz says.
As for Total Content Ratings, TV networks are deciding individually how to encode commercials and content by program, episode and device. “I think it’s important for the networks because then they can dimensionalize the value of their content,” he adds.
He believes that more media sellers will join OpenAP, as it needs to be broader and deeper. Two questions rise to the fore from a buyer’s perspective.
“If I put my information in their system they get to know who the true target is. They get to revaluate how they price the inventory,” Schwartz says. “I want that difference in value between demographic and the behavior to go back to the client.”
Additionally, potentially having 20 clients with 20 different audience targets could be a drawback. “It would be really hard to create a corporate buy and monetize the corporate buy like I do now in that environment.”
This segment is part of a series leading up to the 2017 TV Upfront. It is presented by FreeWheel. To find more videos from the series, please visit this page.