Warner Bros. Discovery Enables Comscore, VideoAmp As Upfront Currency

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Warner Bros. Discovery said it has enabled national advertisers to use audience data from Comscore and VideoAmp as currency in the upcoming upfront market.

Clients will be able to use the alternative currencies while buying linear inventory and data driven advanced advertising applications. The Comscore and VideoAmp data can also be used to improve platform cross-platform measurement looing to transact agaiins advanced audience targets.

Media companies have been looking for alternatives to Nielsen, which has been synonymous with television audience measurement since the black and white days. More recently media companies have complained that Nielsen undercounts trying on traditional TV and its methodology is too antiquated for the streaming era.

Warner Bros. Media, NBCUniversal, Paramount and other have been testing or using alternative currencies since last year and are among the members of a Joint Industry Committee designed to set standard for modern measurement and certify providers who live up to those standard.

“We have full confidence in Comscore and VideoAmp to help us execute our vision around currency, and we’re excited to leverage these innovative and effective solutions as we as an industry move away from a single-source currency,” said Andrea Zapata, executive VP and head of ad sales research at Warner Bros. Discovery.

Zapata said that Nielsen is “aware of the exploration we’ve done with other partners, and we’ve had conversations with them where we’ve shared our feedback about their capabilities and limitations.”

She added that Nielsen was  invited to participate in the company’s upcoming evaluation of measurement and currency.  “Enhancing their panel with big data and the pending rollout of Nielsen One is the right step towards more accurately counting viewers across the media landscape,” she said.

While there has been a lot of talk about alternative currencies, many in the market believes most upfront deals will be done based on Nielsen data.

“We understand real change across the industry takes time,” Zapata said. “Right now, we are focused on educating partners on how alternative currencies work across the Warner Bros. Discovery’s ecosystem. These alternatives provides optionality so agencies, brands, and clients can choose what ultimately works best for their business. We cannot speculate on the upfront.”

Warner Bros. Discovery said it believes better measurement will create better value for advertisers.

“Comscore is proud to expand our long-standing partnership with Warner Bros. Discovery as they continue to innovate across linear and cross-platform audience measurement solutions for their advertising clients,” said Jon Carpenter, CEO at Comscore. “We are excited to be working together to power marketplace demand for greater transparency, consistency and interoperability. Today's consumer has more choice than ever before when making their buying and viewing decisions, and we applaud Warner Bros. Discovery for leading the charge to bring choice in media measurement to their brand and agency partners.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Warner Bros. Discovery as a currency provider, especially as they head into the Upfront season,” added Michael Parkes, President of VideoAmp. “The industry is in need of better audience measurement and transactional capabilities. By teaming up with such an iconic company with massive reach and engaged audiences, we're committed to providing advertisers with greater visibility into the true value of both the breadth and depth of the Warner Bros. Discovery portfolio. We look forward to collaborating with them to drive meaningful impact and deliver measurable results.” ■

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.