Nielsen Rivals Comscore, iSpot, VideoAmp Get Conditional Certification as Ad Currency by Joint Industry Committee

Joint Industry Committee Certification
(Image credit: Joint Industry Committee)

Nielsen challengers Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp were granted conditional certification as currency for buying and selling advertising by the U.S. Joint Industry Committee (JIC) set up by media companies to set modern standards for audience measurement in a multiplatform environment.

The conditional certification means the three companies were judged to be transactable in the first part of the JIC’s analysis.

The certification might give the executives who oversee measurement decisions another reason to hire one of Nielsen’s rivals,  setting up a future in which buyers and sellers can choose from multiple ad currencies when transacting.

Nielsen was invited but declined to participate in the JIC’s certification process, which is being managed by OpenAP, the advanced advertising company owned by several major media companies. including NBCUniversal and Paramount Global.

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Some media companies, including NBCU, Paramount and Warner Bros. Discovery, are already using alternate currency providers for some deals.

Nielsen and its competitors are increasingly using big data from set-top boxes and smart TV sets to measure viewing. The methodologies for using big data–including Nielsen’s–have not been accredited by the Media Rating Council, which provides the seal of approval to TV measurement systems.

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“We support the JIC because it will bring increased transparency, innovation and competition in the currency marketplace — it’s part of our investment in audience and outcome measurement as well as the development of the cross-platform currency of the future that includes all streaming platforms and services,” iSpot CEO Sean Muller said.

‘We are pleased to be granted conditional certification for Cross-platform Currency by the U.S. JIC,“ Comscore said in a statement. “This is affirmation of our methodology and big data approach, which already serves as currency for a multitude of local and national clients, including JIC members. 

“As the only provider under consideration by the US JIC who is also currently undergoing MRC accreditation for audience measurement, Comscore looks forward to continuing along in the certification process,” Comscore added. “We congratulate the members of the U.S. JIC for their efforts towards transparency and the establishment of measurement standards. With today’s announcement, we invite brands and agencies to come test, learn and discover Comscore’s cross-platform capabilities.”

The JIC expects to award full certification in early 2024. To achieve full certification, companies have to pass a data evaluation. With full certification, measurement companies will have access to the JIC Streaming Data Service that will launch next year made up of first-party data from the media companies.

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Another company in the measurement business, Innovid, said it was not pursuing a currency strategy and wasn’t expecting to be among those certified.

“Our platform, InnovidXP, is used today by brands and agencies to gauge converged TV performance against unique business goals, and by publishers to prove the value of their investments and inventory,” Dave Helmreich, chief commercial officer at Innovid, said. “We currently enable brands like GM, Verizon, and P&G and platforms like Disney, Comcast, NBCU, Roku, Tegna and Tubi to deliver better TV advertising experiences that consumers love.

“We are currently in CEO-level conversations with OpenAP/JIC about a possible non-currency related partnership and will share more when the time is right,” he added.

The JIC was set up in January with NBCU, Paramount, Fox Corp., WBD and TelevisaUnivision on board.

Media buying agencies were later invited to serve on the JIC’s committees, including the ones defining standards and voting on certifications.

Other traditional media companies later joined, as well as Roku. Key companies that are not part of the JIC include The Walt Disney Co., YouTube, Netflix and Amazon.

The JIC’s initial charter was to create a certification process for new currencies and  a streaming viewership dataset through OpenAP.

“We applaud the efforts of all companies who leaned in with the JIC’s currency certification efforts and participated in the RFI stage,” the JIC said in a statement.

“Throughout the process thus far, it is clear that — while there is still work to be done — we are moving closer to having more currencies that are commercially ready for scalable transactions across both buyers and sellers,“ the JIC said. “We look forward to continuing to work with the companies in both the next stage of the currency data-evaluation process, as well as with those who will be partnering on measurement certification next year, as we thoughtfully and collaboratively work toward ushering the industry toward a modern measurement and currency ecosystem.” 

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.