CANNES – Advertisers are demanding television viewership metrics that reflect the way people spend time with traditional linear TV and newer streaming video platforms. Comcast’s NBCUniversal has worked to provide insights into what’s currently achievable in audience metrics by sharing the results of a recent test-and-learn project that included 158 brands.

Kelly Abcarian, executive vice president of measurement and impact at the company, is asking market participants to work with attainable metrics instead of focusing on their deficiencies.

“We’re somewhat failing collectively. We spend 80% of our time talking about the problems, 20% of our time talking about the opportunity,” she said in a discussion with consultant Jon Watts at the Beet Villa during the Cannes International Festival of Creativity. “I would implore everyone to stop waiting for perfection, because the data is as good as it’s going to get and it will continue to get better.”

She cited media measurement firm as a company that is providing data to help set the value of ad transactions – or a “currency” in industry parlance. More than 30% of the brands that participated in NBCUniversal’s test-and-learn project were clients of iSpot.

“They [advertisers] trust the data. They use the data to plan on every upfront and have been for many years, and now they’re starting to transact on those plans,” Abcarian said.

Need for Real-Time Metrics

She would like to see more adoption of technologies that give advertisers quicker insights into their linear television campaigns so that they can adjust them in flight. The procedures of offering advertisers make-goods with audience deficiency units (ADUs) are time-consuming and don’t help marketers with real-time decisions.

“In our experience in working with big data, now we can count it all correctly because we can see it all, and therefore, advertisers can value it all,” Abcarian said. “We’re going to keep seeing the acceleration of adoption of multicurrencies. It’s here. It’s happening. There’s no slowing this down.”

Television can offer better-quality programming than “walled garden” digital platforms that rely on user-generated content (UGC), making premium video better for audiences and advertisers, she said.

“There is a reason why bringing the walled gardens into the premium-video marketplace for cross-platform is a challenge, because these things are not truly comparable,” Abcarian said.

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