Pathways to progress in audience measurement: from talk to action

Our World Audiences Summit showed the versatile approaches being taken to realise better measurement across the world: same destination, different routes.
28 January 2022

Global Director of JICs and Currency Services, Media Division

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The World Federation of Advertisers’ ‘North Star’ cross-media initiative has rightly gained a lot of attention in the last couple of years, with the national advertising bodies of the UK and the US, ISBA and ANA, both championing prototype projects for cross-media measurement. 

At the 2021 World Audiences Summit, media leaders from around the world gathered to explore how audience measurement is progressing, and widening its scope. Silos are being broken down and assumptions challenged, and the prevailing impression is of a move from words to action. 

It was evident that real progress is being made. However, with the biggest measurement footprint in the world, Kantar’s success reflects an understanding that one size does not fit all. The summit presented a range of priorities and measurement innovations that are leading the industry towards full cross-platform measurement. So, let’s look at the core developments in various markets, and the specific client imperatives that have driven creativity and innovation.

1. The importance of clear objectives and a clean research design: Mediapulse in Switzerland

The priority for Mediapulse in Switzerland has been to build a single-source research design, with a panel using Kantar technology to provide depth and granularity in cross-platform video measurement.

CEO Tanja Hackenbruch confirmed that the measurement architecture is driven by three priorities: measurement of real people from a panel, a transparent and understandable research design, and a system that can be used as a reliable base on which to build further solutions, such as measuring online content and campaigns.

2. A commitment to the importance of the core panel: BARB in the UK

In 2021, following an extensive competitive tender, Broadcasters’ Audience Research Board (BARB) unveiled its plans for measurement over the next decade. Central to these is a commitment to partner with Kantar to expand the core panel to 7,000 homes. This 40% increase is the largest in BARB’s history, and the new contract is seen by BARB as a defining moment. The measurement scope is already being expanded to encompass subscription video on demand (SVOD), ad-based video on demand (AVOD) and video-sharing platforms, on top of the 163 billion minutes of broadcaster VOD playtime already measured. 

The panel, which will utilise Kantar’s innovative metering technology, plays an absolutely central role at the heart of the system, and expansion of the panel will increase its utility, accuracy and precision.

‘Our decision to build a larger panel is a statement of intent. Representative panels are a fundamental part of audience measurement for many years to come.’ - Justin Sampson, BARB

3. Coming together to best serve the online ecosystem: NMO in the Netherlands

The Netherlands has innovated not just in the measurement of media, but in the whole structure of media measurement. In 2021, new measurement contracts were awarded by NMO, the new body that brings together video, audio, published and online measurement into one integrated system. The integrated design offers immediate benefits for measurement across digital platforms as well as long-term opportunities for reaching the WFA’s holy grail of cross-media measurement. Bringing this to fruition has meant collaboration and partnership not just between the legacy JICs like SKO, NLO, NOM and VINEX, but also between research agencies, as Kantar and Ipsos are partnering to deliver the service.

‘Both linear and on-demand viewing will be the dominant viewing behaviours in the next few years, meaning that next to the GRP model, we have to serve as an online or impression-based ecosystem. By combining the new People Meter 7 with the Focal Meter, we feel very confident that we can provide the market with the right data for each ecosystem and that we are ready and open to incorporate new trends too, including the emergence of addressable and connected TV offerings.’ - Sjoerd Pennekamp, SKO

4. Exploiting the opportunities offered by operator data: Numeris in Canada

At the summit, we heard how Numeris in Canada is working with Kantar Media to integrate return-path data from several digital cable operators with its TAM service. This will enabled Numeris to initially scale its panel by a factor of 7 times, greatly enhancing the granularity of measurement in terms of the breadth and depth of coverage. The development has been facilitated by the Canadian government legislation requiring vertically integrated operators to make their data available, benefiting the wider media ecosystem.

‘Improving measurement starts with getting access to more data to understand audiences at a granular level. Sometimes that comes from partnerships, sometimes it comes from industry collaboration and, in this case, it’s coming from increased regulation.’ - Neil McEneaney, Numeris

5. Real-time reporting delivering speed to insights: Kantar IBOPE Media in Brazil

For many years now, real-time ratings have been available in some of Kantar IBOPE Media’s Latin American markets, and they have become a staple for programmers and schedulers. However, at the summit we learnt that the currency in Brazil could make viewing data available in real time for both overnight and consolidated advertising ratings across TV and online, from its panel of 6,000 homes measured by Kantar technology. This reflects a wider market desire for speed to insight.

‘We are progressing to transform the real-time data report used today for programme analysis and expand it for programmatic platforms and attribution analysis across media forms. In the near future, when we will be providing ratings across TV and online, we will have the possibility to report crossmedia data in realtime.’ - Melissa Vogel, Kantar IBOPE Media

The foundations for successful measurement innovation

Approaches and business models are likely to vary greatly as measurement evolves and innovates. Nonetheless, all these approaches do have a number of key themes in common:

  • Partnering with the industry to move from words to action
  • The vital role played by people-centric measurement, grounded in the panel
  • Innovation in measurement technology
  • The role of data science in bringing data sets together
  • A commitment to ensuring trust through transparency

When it comes to expanding measurement across platforms, whilst a global WFA template will guide local application, Kantar is in a great position to ensure appropriate local application.

The need to deliver a complete picture is universal, but the solution itself is flexible.

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