If the traditional TV meter disappears as the standard by which viewing behavior is measured, don’t expect it to be replaced by just one alternative.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, one TV ad-tech exec says the industry should expect to accommodate a multitude of Nielsen alternatives.

And, says Samba TV’s Ashwin Navin, that future is accelerating now that COVID-19 lockdowns have hastened consumer behavior change.

This conversation with Navin is a preview of his more extended comments to be given when he keynotes the Beet Retreat in Santa Monica later this month.

Back in the world

Delighted to be emerging back into the physical business environment in New York and ahead of appearing at Beet.TV’s upcoming Beet Retreat in Santa Monica, Navin says the lockdown period was transformational.

“While we were home, we were watching a lot of TV and it happens to be that cord-cutting has reached a record level in the country and streaming has also reached a record level and that’s really shattered all the traditional models for measurement,” he says.

“We have to move beyond GRPs (gross rating points). This industry is done with proxies and hand waviness and the accreditation point.

“We can’t beat Nielsen up too much – it was hard to build and deploy meters in a pandemic, when you can’t go to people’s houses. It’s pushed the industry to say, ‘What can we do better? ‘”

A heterogenous future

So, what does “better” look like? Actually, a dozen “betters”, maybe more – a Cambrian explosion of methods by which to monitor the new TV consumption.

What they all have in common in first-party data getting generated by smart TVs, set-top boxes and new kinds of metering technology, creating new forms of enablement for currency, Navin says.

“We’re going to a move from a world where one currency and methodology ruled them all to an environment where we’re going to have a number of new currencies emerging, bringing TV really up to date.

“Media companies in the digital world basically accommodate many different currencies today. In TV, we have to catch up.”

Connect and serve

Samba TV itself has software embedded in smart TV devices from 24 companies, giving it insight on “46 million addressable TV devices globally powering the world’s largest end-to-end viewership data and household identity graph”, according to the company.

After initially just offering access to viewing data from automatic content recognition (ACR), the company has expanded its offering. This summer, it launched its own SambaID. Now the company has two currencies of its own.

“One is a reach metric, the other one is a tune-in or consumption metric for outcomes for entertainment marketers,” Navin adds.

But the company has also partnered with the likes of Comscore, Kantar and Lucid to work with other currencies, too.