The early 1960’s were interesting times for radio and television, as Congress considered regulating audience research. How simple those days must seem now that the Media Rating Council—formed as the media industry’s self-regulating body—has tackled cross-media audience measurement.
This becomes more evident when one considers that the MRC is still dealing with standards for digital ad viewability and traffic fraud. It’s made great progress on that front, but there’s no resting on laurels for George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC, which audits more than 100 products a year.
“We’re consumed by those two business cycles, accrediting things and writing standards,” Ivie says in this interview with Beet.TV. Allowing that “the timeline is somewhat difficult,” Ivie says the MRC hopes to complete cross-media standards for digital video within the first quarter of 2018.
“It’s very difficult to develop consensus on these things,” a list of which includes:
• Establishing common metrics across different media types
• Measurement of duration
• De-duplication of audiences across media types
• Setting reporting parameters for days, dayparts, etc.
• How to measure audiences (age, gender, targeting characteristics)
“It’s a very complex standard that we’re working on and it has a big reach,” says Ivie. “Right now we’re concentrating mostly on video but it will be expanded later to include audio and print and other types of media.”
One of the more vexing aspects of video measurement is to differentiate the value of different types of media vehicles appropriately, according to Ivie. “Things like how long people stay with the video, how they interact with the video, if there is any measurement of interaction,” he explains.
These elements will be measured on a common basis and then compared with TV measurement.
“We also are concentrating on differentiating and measuring ads and content separately, which is a key concept of the standard,” he adds.
Asked to assess the MRC’s progress with regard to cleaning up the digital ecosystem, Ivie says viewability was a tough standard to set. “It certainly was highly disruptive in the digital marketplace. Very tough medicine to swallow. But now it’s been assimilated, made more consistent.”
We interviewed Ivie at the Cynopsis Measurement and Data Summit in New York earlier this month.