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NYC TV Week: ‘Bright Light’ at End of Measurement Tunnel, Says Gotlieb

Content consumption measurement is off by a mile, suggested Irwin Gotlieb, GroupM chairman, but the pending marriage of Rentrak and comScore should help provide a better read on who’s watching what, and on what device. Gotlieb, interviewed by B&C business editor Jon Lafayette as part of the Advanced Advertising Summit, said the fact that Nielsen measures much of the country with paper diaries is “a little bit of a joke,” and expressed hope that the merger, announced Sept. 29, will either create a viable cross-platform measurement machine or spark Nielsen to upgrade its operation.

“There’s starting to be a pretty bright light at the end of the tunnel,” said Gotlieb.

Such inaccurate measurement likely caused advertisers and marketers to overspend on the digital side, asserted Gotlieb, who said that between a third and two thirds of the current advertising downfall may be attributed to cross-device usage not being fully counted.

“A medium can be seriously damaged if the measurement has flaws in it,” he said.

Prompted about the upfront market, Gotlieb said that that television convention is a “very poor indicator” of the industry’s health. A robust upfront means weak scatter, he said, while a lukewarm upfront is made up for with a robust scatter. “It’s a zero sum game,” he said.

Gotlieb nudged the industry to get past its ain’t broke/don’t fix it ways and work harder on targeted advertising. “There are enormous incremental revenue opportunities,” he said.

Michael Malone, senior content producer at B+C/Multichannel News, covers network programming, including entertainment, news and sports on broadcast, cable and streaming; and local broadcast television. He hosts the podcasts Busted Pilot, about what’s new in television, and Series Business, a chat with the creator of a new program, and writes the column “The Watchman.” He joined B+C in 2005. His journalism has also appeared in The New York Times, The Philadelphia Inquirer, Playboy and New York magazine.