March 27, 2023

Alternate audience measurement currencies, the Joint Industry Committee, and WideOrbit

For as long as we’ve been talking about linear and digital convergence, we have also been talking about the need for a common audience measurement currency. That conversation has taken on added urgency with the recent formation of the Joint Industry Committee (JIC). Comprised of media agencies, premium video programmers, streaming platforms, and trade bodies, the JIC’s stated purpose is to accelerate measurement innovation at scale.

Initially confined to a few broadcast networks and cable TV companies, audiences are now fragmented across multiple platforms and service providers, both subscription and ad-supported, each with their own audience data. Add new and emerging audience measurement providers into the mix, each with their own methodology and data sources, and it becomes increasingly difficult to know who is watching what and on which platform.

For many years, Nielsen has been considered the universal source of truth for audience measurement, with upstart Comscore entering the fray in 1999. Linear, broadcast TV is still largely transacted based on gross ratings points (GRPs), derived from panel-based data, compiled from a sample of hundreds of viewers and then extrapolated to the 240+ million viewers in the US. But with audiences now spread across hundreds of distribution end points, the small data sets of traditional ratings measurements are proving to be both inadequate and inaccurate, leading to the emergence of alternate currencies for enhanced linear-digital measurement and reporting, such as VideoAmp,, and more.

But those alternate currencies come with their own challenges, for both buyers and sellers. For example, advertisers may want proposals in a certain currency, requiring networks to guarantee proposals against the advertiser’s currency of choice, while both buyer and seller may be using transactional systems that don’t support that particular currency.

Ultimately, advertisers want to know what they bought, what was delivered, who it was delivered to, and what the outcome was. But depending on who’s compiling and reporting on the data, advertisers can end up struggling to compare GRPs to impressions to views to completed views, basically comparing apples and oranges to bananas and cumquats.

The Joint Industry Committee

In January of this year, OpenAP, several national programmers, and the Video Advertising Bureau (VAB) announced the formation of a new Joint Industry Committee to enable multiple currencies. The focus of the JIC is the creation of a measurement certification process to establish the suitability of emerging cross-platform measurement solutions in advance of the 2024 upfront. The JIC published its initial requirements for premium video cross-platform currencies in March.

At NBCUniversal’s NBC One23 conference on February 28th, there was a session on measurement with panelists from the newly-established JIC. Discussion centered around the need to move away from a panel-based measurement approach towards “big data”, the need for standardized requirements and a certification process so that measurement providers can be held accountable, and the need for all players in the space – marketers, agencies, and programmers – to participate in the process.

One key takeaway from the session was the apparent willingness of major programmers, including NBCUniversal and Paramount, to share their first-party data to aid in the creation of a single, harmonized data set to ensure the scalability and accuracy of any new measurement currency.

Another major takeaway was the importance of making sure transactional systems evolve to be able to pull new and emerging measurement currencies into existing workflows – transactional systems like WideOrbit.

WideOrbit has done the work

WideOrbit offers sales tools that support alternate audience measurement currencies within existing workflows. We’ve built sales solutions, already in production with our clients for early access, that will be ready for general availability in the coming months.

Our solution allows networks to sell linear and digital ads within the same campaign during upfronts to provide true fluidity with multi-currency stewardship, including:

  • Cross-media selling: Consolidate plans from multiple media sales systems into a single proposal
  • Alternate ratings measurements: Supports Comscore, Nielsen, VideoAmp,, or bring-your-own-data (BYOD)
  • APIs for deals: Write back measurement data and unit restrictions to your system of record, whether that’s WO Network or a third-party platform

Stayed tuned to our blog and your WideOrbit Newsletter, or contact us, for more information about our solution for cross-media selling with alternate ratings measurements, coming soon!

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