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Nielsen's Advertising Week Pitch: Cross-Platform Ratings R Us

Posted by Sheila Shayon on October 1, 2012 11:03 AM

On the eve of Advertising Week, Nielsen announced a modest uptick of 2.4% in global ad spending in the second quarter. And now that Advertising Week is upon us, the ratings giant is out with its latest metrics on how the rise of online video and digital platforms are upending traditional ad models.

According to the new Nielsen Cross-Platform Report, “in addition to watching 34-plus hours of TV per week, the average American spends nearly five hours online on the computer. More than half of Americans now watch video online, with online viewing increasing average weekly video consumption to roughly 35 hours.”

Nielsen is pitching its clients to rethink how they view the viewer, and that an online viewer is equally valuable to the advertising ecosystem as a television viewer — a message that coincides with the kick off of Advertising Week in New York, and the launch of Nielsen Cross-Platform Ratings for multi-screen ad measurement to Madison Avenue.

After extensive trials across the advertising ecosystem with brands including ESPN, Facebook, Hulu and Unilever, the new product delivers unduplicated and incremental reach, frequency and GRP measures for TV and Internet advertising. Their new measurement includes the number of people who watched a campaign digitally, those who watched on TV, and the intersection of those two audiences.

“Creating a way to reach, measure and monetize inventory across screens and platforms advances the industry toward the high caliber, seamless standard that can provide new opportunities for players across the industry,” stated Steve Hasker, President, Global Media Products and Advertiser Solutions, Nielsen.

Campaign reporting is available to agencies, advertisers and publishers one day after launch and draws on Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings and Nielsen’s proprietary TV data.

Launched last year, Nielsen's Online Campaign Ratings delivers demographic ratings of online-ad campaigns with metrics comparable to television campaigns and has been deployed by online brands like AOL for advertiser guarantees.

Recently the CW announced adoption of this new metric as a core of its digital-advertising strategy. The Time Warner/CBS-owned network will tag each online video ad giving advertisers demographic guarantees for the 2012-2013 season, providing make-goods for short-falls. The CW just renewed summer docu-drama Breaking Pointe because of its online success, despite poor television ratings.

"As consumers watch their favorite TV shows across Internet-connected devices, measurement in this area becomes critical to the long-term health of the entire industry,” said Jean-Paul Colaco, SVP Advertising, Hulu. 

A dissenting viewpoint from Michael Hayes, president of digital communications, Initiative Worldwide, states that "While having a similar metric isn't bad, Nielsen is oversimplifying it and trying to say everything is equal." He added, "Digital buyers plan differently and buy media based on the context. There are times when we are looking for the inverse of [gross rating points] — less impressions and less frequency to hit the right consumer." 

Still the primary source of audience measurement information in television worldwide, Nielsen began in the 1920s with founder Arthur Nielsen’s focus on brand advertising analysis which expanded into radio in the 1930’s and moved to television in the 1950’s. 

In today’s multi-screen landscape, “Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings is the first product that truly addresses this issue. Having a holistic, consumer-centric view of a campaign is a big step forward for the industry," said Brad Smallwood, Head of Measurement and Insights at Facebook — which is out in the marketplace pitching brands to "forget about clicks."

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