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VAB Launches Measurement Task Force; NBCU Signs On

Sean Cunningham VAB
VAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham (Image credit: VAB)

The VAB, the trade group representing the networks and distributors, said it formed a Measurement Innovation Task Force to speed up innovation in media measurement and ad buying currencies.

NBCUniversal, which last month sent out requests for proposals to more than 50 data and analytics companies seeking ways to create a measurement system that was independent of the current, antiquated system and any single metric or provider, has signed up for the VAB Task Force.

Also Read: Nielsen’s David Kenny Fights Back After Accreditation Loss

The VAB took the lead in criticizing Nielsen for its performance during the pandemic. Because COVID-19 prevented it from sending employees to visit sample panel homes in person, the data coming from them undercounted viewing by between 2% and 6%

The situation was reviewed by the Media Rating Council, which last month suspended the accreditation of Nielsen’s National Ratings service

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

“The time for action and innovation on measurement is now,“ VAB president and CEO Sean Cunningham said. “That’s why I’m excited to announce the VAB’s new Measurement Innovation Task Force. Our role will be to immediately plug directly into a range of cross-industry initiatives, which first include the ANA's Cross-Media Measurement initiative, OpenAP’s Open ID and NBCUniversal's new cross-industry Measurement Innovation Forum.” 

In addition to joining the VAB’s Measurement Innovation Task Force, NBCU said it is creating a Measurement Innovation Forum.

“We’ve long advocated for a more open and accountable marketplace, built on a foundation of trust, transparency, and shared values," Kelly Abcarian, executive VP, measurement & impact, advertising & partnerships at NBCU, said in a blog post. “These efforts include our most recent call to move toward metrics that tell the full story.” 

NBCU‘s forum will work to explore, evaluate and expand opportunities to solve measurement challenges facing the industry, Abcarian said. 

Next week at the Advertising Research Foundation conference, NBCU plans to announce the participants in its forum, including media holding companies,  marketers and trade group. The VAB task force will participate in the forum to represent all media companies.

“This is a moment to lead transformation, rather than be led by it,“ Abcarian said. “Together — through both the Task Force and the Forum — our industry can build a measurement system that’s more transparent and trusted; that’s more interoperable, and enables uniformity across data sets, identities, and platforms; and that’s more accountable and beneficial to everyone. 

“In the next few weeks we’ll share details on all members for the new forum,“ she added. ”We’re excited to do our part in building the future of measurement with the entire industry — because, after all, measurement is a team sport.”

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.