After a year in which the consensus around traditional media measurement splintered and moved into the future, Nielsen has a big 2022 ahead.

The company is advancing a product line-up it hopes answers industry demands for cross-media measurement.

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Nielsen chief operating officer Karthik Rao talks about two of Nielsen’s biggest initiatives.

1. Nielsen ONE alpha

Nielsen used Consumer Electronics Show to launch an initial, or “alpha”, version of its Nielsen ONE, a product initiative aiming to provide cross-platform measurement including deduplicated reach and frequency, cross media for ads and content.

Disney and MAGNA are amongst the alpha testers.

“The fully blown-out system launches at the end of this year,” Rao says. “So this is a very important year for us. It runs through a parallel period for a couple of years going into 2024.

“There are many components to getting there. We have been on track delivering each of these components. For instance, building the identity backbone required to support all of this, bringing in big data for all forms of linear measurement.

“(The alpha will) lay it out there in an actual application with live data flowing in across all four screens so that people can touch feel and start to engage with what cross media actually looks like.”

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2. MRC re-accreditation

Rao is also hoping Nielsen can gain re-accreditation with the Media Ratings Council (MRC), which in September suspended approval for Nielsen’s National Television service and its Local People Meter and Set Meter Markets services.

It came after the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) complained that Nielsen had under-counted TV viewing during the pandemic thanks to challenges accessing locked-down meter panel participants.

“We were suspended because we absolutely had challenges managing the panel,” Rao concedes.

“We’re making tremendous progress on all of the punch list items towards getting reaccredited. We’re making tremendous progress.

“We are very clear with what the feedback from the MRC and the MRC TV committee is. We’re resiliently banging down every single (one) of those milestones as we go along and communicating it to the industry as well.

“It’s extra work for us, but it’s God’s work.”

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Quest for simplicity

For Nielsen, the stakes could scarcely be higher. Rao is trying to maintain the consensus that has existed in reliance on a single set of truth for TV audience data for decades, even as TV viewing splinters into a cornucopia of different methods.

Rao acknowledges: “The consumer behaviour has caught up to a level where it’s no longer tenable to operate in a world of silos. So this is our mission in the most fundamental way.”

Whilst some in the industry now believe the emerging future will have to accommodate a variety of different media currencies, Rao is skeptical.

“How can anyone reasonably process having 20 different discussions about 20 different techniques and 20 different analytics and 20 different measurement approaches?,” he says.

“It’s just not scalable and it slows things down. It increases the cost of operating for everyone. Things will get more expensive for the industry at large when there is so much fragmentation.”

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The holy trinity

So, Rao believes the path will emerge from a three-pronged media measurement philosophy:

  1. Coverage: “A relentless focus on coverage is really important”.
  2. Comparability: “People approaching things individually does not help that, creates actually more opaqueness and chaos. In many ways, it actually disrespects the consumer experience.”
  3. Resiliency: “Building systems that can actually be resilient, for the future, managing privacy becomes really important.”

You’re watching “Advertising Transformation: What’s Next for Converged TV + Video,” a Beet.TV Leadership Series and Summit presented by Mediaocean, produced virtually during CES 2022. For more videos from this program, please visit this page.