SAN JUAN, Puerto Rico – Changes in people’s television viewing habits and the growth of data captured from connected devices like smart TVs are influencing the way audiences are measured. A variety of startups have emerged to offer alternate metrics to help set the value of advertising transactions, challenging marketers to evaluate which ones work best.

“Landrushes happen when there’s a moment of unusual opportunity. Landrushes also tend to be messy,” Ben Hovaness, senior vice president of marketplace intelligence at media-buying agency Omnicom Media Group, said in this discussion with consultant Jon Watts at the Beet Retreat San Juan.

His company uses four criteria to evaluate to measurement companies — reliability, accuracy, cost and transparency – that provide alternate metrics to Nielsen. The TV ratings stalwart is currently working to regain accreditation for its national and local audience metrics from the Media Rating Council (MRC), the TV industry’s measurement watchdog.

“There’s definitely going to be a market characterized by more providers than what we’ve become accustomed to. What we want to make sure is that it’s not a ‘checkerboard’ of a marketplace,” Hovaness said. “What we’re hoping to get to is a world where our advertisers, our clients have the option to use any measurement provider we think is a reasonable solution with any seller.”

While competition is typically welcome in pushing companies to improve the quality of their services, too much choice wouldn’t necessarily help media buyers and sellers in their negotiations.

“There’s no guarantee that more measurement is better measurement,” Hovaness said. “I don’t think if we went from 10 measurement providers to 100 that would necessarily be an improvement.”

As the inventory of addressable advertising expands on national TV networks, marketers need a way to measure viewership of different ads delivered to different households during the same shows.

“As we continue down this journey to addressable advertising it’s going to lead us to more and more fragmentation of commercial airings,” Hovaness said. “That means a big data approach becomes necessary to accurately measure all the nuances of the various commercial airings that are going on simultaneously.”

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