On September 4, 2019 the Media Rating Council (MRC) released its Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards. In the words of the MRC, this is an “important milestone in MRC’s multiyear effort to develop measurement standards designed specifically with today’s complex video consumption in mind.” The document reflects input from many companies and individuals across the industry, including conference calls with over 100 participants (sensibly, we didn’t all go round the horn and introduce ourselves).
At 76 pages, the Standards document is thorough and detailed, but the underlying philosophy that underpins the standards can be summarized in one word: consistency. For a cross-platform deal to be meaningful the linear and digital elements should be defined and measured as consistently as possible. This affects the definition of viewability of ads, the duration of exposure to ads, and the definition of who is actually exposed.
The MRC has this to say about persons measurement (in Section 2.1.3):“non-digital components of cross-media measurement shall at least include persons level measurement and be consistent with digital components” and “household and persons level measurement shall not be mixed in cross-media measurement.”
Meanwhile, clypd’s media owner clients are wrestling with the challenges and opportunities presented by different viewing platforms. Over-the-top (OTT) viewing of TV content, on smart TV’s, via set-top-boxes or digital devices, presents addressable advertising opportunities, but creates challenges as people switch to OTT viewing and traditional linear viewing reduces. Audiences can be significantly impacted: in some cases, program reach is increased by 30-50% with the addition of OTT onto linear.
Combining linear and OTT in a consistent way for advertisers is therefore of interest and value to both buyers and sellers. Doing this in a way that preserves the existing linear currency and workflows is also an important consideration given the large sums of money that are transacted and guaranteed, much of it agreed in upfront deals.
With this background and both the MRC standards and clients in mind, clypd has developed a methodology for estimating audiences across linear and OTT with these features: