Networks Face Measurement Service Selection

New York — While audience measurement companies look to heed the call for better measurement, their progress may lead to some tough decisions by media clients, a top analyst in the sector said.

Speaking at last Tuesday’s Advanced Advertising and Measurement Summit here, Tom Eagan, managing director and senior research analyst at The Telsey Group, noted that entertainment companies have been going through a difficult time financially.

“Measurement isn’t what they want it to be,” Eagan said. “Better measurement is the key.”

The networks want the industry’s two big competitors — Nielsen and comScore — to produce cross-platform metrics and advanced demographics to help them sell commercials while competing against digital advertising options. Eagan noted that digital ad spending is likely to tie TV advertising at about $65 billion this year, and surpass it next year.

While it’s important for comScore and Nielsen to get their new cross-platform and total audience measurement products out to the networks and ad agencies in time for a test drive during this upfront, that data won’t be used to determine ad buys until the 2017 upfront. Then 2018 will be the year many companies have to decide which measurement service to use, as most don’t have the research budget required to employ both, Eagan said.

Eagan also made a fairly bold prediction: By 2017, Netflix will have an advertising option. As its subscriber total reaches maturity, he said, “to keep their multiple, they’ll need another source of revenue.”

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.