Nielsen's Response to 'Living in the Post-Measurement World'

Vikram Somaya, executive VP, chief data officer, Nielsen, addresses EDO CEO Kevin Krim's guest blog titled "With the Incumbents Struggling, Are We Living in the Post-Measurement Era?"

Now, more than any other time in history, the power of data is being harnessed as a way to help make truly informed decisions— be it on a baseball diamond, forecasting the next hurricane or when it comes to understanding the value of marketing. However, in order to unlock this data and unleash its true potential, it’s crucial that it is treated responsibly, objectively and utilizes proven core principles. The barrier to entry for data solutions has been lowered by the hyper-growth of technologies that enable the creation of scaled solutions. This has also resulted in incidents that have eroded user trust and brought down companies who have played fast and loose with their consumer or customer information.

In response to some of the suggestions that an entire industry forgo Nielsen’s accurate, representative and reliable data simply because we have a rich history serving the market, we would say that appears more self-serving than the result of sound and comprehensive thinking. Consider this: Nielsen's currency-grade measurement— based on scientific principles that remain both trusted and relevant— underpin over $80 billion dollars in advertising revenue every year. 

Nielsen has not remained stagnant as the media world continues to fragment. We have thoughtfully provided the industry, both current and nascent, with measurement progress based on myriad technical innovations and some of the deepest relationships with our customers of any organization within the media ecosystem. This technological headway includes enabling the sell side to measure and monetize cross-platform engagements, helping marketers identify and reach audiences beyond age and gender and planting a new flag in the incredibly exciting world of dynamically inserted advertising in linear and streaming television to name just a few. 

The combination of Nielsen's panel and census data assets is unique in our space and utterly devoid of the inherent conflict of interest that comes from attempting to both produce and sell content while also trying to measure and understand it in truly neutral manner. By being the connective tissue between the models of panel-based common sense and the gentle analysis of some of the largest data sets available in media, Nielsen provides a unique perspective to the media “Game Of Thrones”— that of the referee.

And the referee is a difficult position. It is necessary for the game and often is the subject of both joy and derision by all the players and fans. However, it is a role with deep and abiding responsibilities and Nielsen plans to continue to wear that mantle going into this next era where identity, data, measurement, analytics and a relentless focus on the consumer will allow us to continue to be the most singular and focused source of media truth for this ecosystem.