NBCU Recognizes More Measurement Companies as Nielsen Alternatives

NBC Studios in New York
(Image credit: AuburnSky/Wikimedia Commons)

NBCUniversal, which has been vocal in its search for companies to provide media measurement alternatives to Nielsen, said it has certified eight more vendors for audience measurement and audience verification.

NBCU made the announcement in conjunction with its One22 ad tech presentation Tuesday.

The first alternative measurement company certified by NBCU was iSpot.TV. NBCU tested iSpot’s methodology and technology during the first quarter, measuring NBCU programming including the Beijing Winter Olympics and Super Bowl LVI

Also: The Front-Runner: How iSpot Became a Favorite To Claim Nielsen’s Measurement Crown

NBCU called the test successful and said that during the 2022 upfront advertisers will be able to use iSpot’s viewership data — which provides ratings for individual ads — to activate cross-platform advanced audience media plans. Buyers will be able to use the iSpot data via OpenAP and other marketplaces.

For now, NBCU will also transact on Nielsen, although NBCU has not named Nielsen one of its certified measurement providers.

Kelly Abcarian

Kelly Abcarian (Image credit: Nielsen)

“This is a big step forward, but it’s not the only one we need to take,“ said Kelly Abcarian, executive VP, measurement & impact for NBCU’s advertising and partnerships group. ”We must also evolve transactional measurement of unique audiences by building a more modern, interoperable, and expansive measurement framework. One currency, one metric or one company can’t possibly capture all the ways people consume content. Rather, it’s going to take many innovative companies to count it all, measure it all and deliver a complete, unified cross-screen view of the consumer.”

In addition to iSpot, which was certified as a provider of national audience measurement, NBCU certified Comscore for providing local TV measurement and Conviva for streaming and digital audience measurement.

“Given the tremendous growth in streaming over the past 18 months, it is no surprise streaming is becoming a larger, more strategic piece of the publisher market. The critical next step in capturing this market opportunity is census-level streaming audience measurement, and NBC is leading the charge in many ways,” said Keith Zubchevich, CEO of Conviva. “Conviva is thrilled to be a part of NBC’s innovative new audience measurement architecture and continuing to evolve as publisher, advertiser and consumer needs demand.” 

NBU also certified DoubleVerify, Oracle’s Moat and Integral Ad Science for audience verification, iSpot’s ad catalog and FreeWheel and Innovid for verifying ad serving.

Abcarian has led NBCU’s process, which drew proposals from 120 measurement companies.

Also: Ad Industry Seeks Alternatives After Nielsen Loses Seal of Approval

"At this stage of the process, we’ve focused exclusively on Audience Measurement and Audience Verification,” she said. “And, as we head into the Upfront season, we wanted to make it clear that, at this moment in time, we will be transacting against our certified cross-platform partner, iSpot.tv. However, these additional eight certified companies play an important role in the interoperable ecosystem of currency, including streaming viewership capture, ad serving, audience verification and ad catalogs.”

Abcarian said NBCU’s process would be continuing and that it would be dynamic, making sure that new, innovative companies get included and making sure that certified companies keep up with changing consumer behavior.

She said NBCU will announce certification in the impact measurement category by the end of the third quarter of 2022 and business planning by the end of the fourth quarter.

“This is the starting point of an entirely new measurement era,” Abcarian said. “It’s about more than just new technology. It’s about a new beginning. For the first time ever, our advertisers can get a unified cross-screen view that provides a complete picture of their ad’s performance across all screens, in almost real time. And ready for action and transaction — right now,” Abcarian said. ■

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.