US TV stakeholders demand new measurement system

US media companies and marketers are planning to develop an alternative TV audience measurement currency due to frustration with the long-standing Nielsen system.

Watching TV

The major TV networks, including NBC Universal, Time Warner, News Corp, Viacom, Disney, Discovery and CBS and other media companies are expected to have a consortium in operation shortly with high-spending clients involved, according to a report in the Financial Times.

Media agencies GroupM and Starcom MediaVest together with clients Procter & Gamble, AT&T and Unilever are believed to be involved in the drive to develop a measurement system that delivers higher quality information more quickly and that can evaluate campaigns running on several platforms.

It is estimated that $70 billion is spent on TV advertising in the US annually but marketers are hungry for more information on how online video content is viewed online via PCs, handheld devices and mobiles.

The FT reports that Sam Armando, senior vp of audience analysis at Starcom MediaVest, said: “The most deficient thing is there’s no single source measurement (for television and digital video).”

The consortium is expected to tender new contracts for a company to develop a measurement system for TV set top boxes and cross-measurement across digital platforms.

Nielsen has been testing measurement across the internet and TV but is not expected to implement any system until 2011.

A debate over the definition of “TV viewing” is currently taking place on markeitngweek.co.uk, see the comments here

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