2023-03-09 RSG Media

TV Measurement Is Now an Oligopoly: Why Should We Care?

With audiences spread across many viewing platforms, traditional media measurement struggles to understand how audiences are engaging.

As the dust settles from the media industries’ rapid pivot to incorporate SVOD and AVOD businesses within their portfolio, one thing is apparent in 2023: we have a currency problem. 

With audiences spread across many viewing platforms, each offering personalized content and experiences, traditional media measurement struggles to understand how audiences are engaging with content, advertising, and marketing on linear, non-linear, and social platforms. 

This problem has been compounded by the Media Rating Council – an independent industry watchdogrevoking Nielsen’s accreditation for National & Local TV Ratings, allowing a group of new vendors to gain the confidence of networks and advertisers in measuring audiences more accurately. 

To address this issue, Fox, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Televisa/Univision, and Warner Bros. Discovery have established a joint industry committee to evaluate and certify a dizzying range of audience-measurement technologies, including 605, Alphonso, Comscore/Rentrak, iSpot, Kantar, Samba, and VideoAmp. 

Not so quietly, media companies are now openly pursuing a best-of-breed approach in their data measurement strategy. Some have even formed new data alliances, such as Warner Bros. Discovery’s deal with VideoAmp, despite maintaining MRC accreditation. 


So why should we care?  

What would those who are in the camp of keeping Nielsen as the standard for tv measurement argue? And for the advocators of new players like Video Amp, what would be the points for adoption of a new currency? Based on experiences working across both data sets for data analytics and data science initiatives, below are the RSG Audience takeaways: 

Benefits for Maintaining Nielsen Standard Benefits of Adopting VideoAmp
The Current Industry Standard That Deals are being transaction upon.   Allows For Deals to Be Brokered on More Dynamic Audience Segments – Beyond Age & Gender 
Due to nature of sample, certain insights are unique (i.e., DMAs, Market Breaks, Respondent Attributes)  Household-Level Viewing for 30M across Linear and Non-Linear Viewing coupled with 1st & 3rd Party Data across Desktop, Mobile, Tablet & CTV 
Ability to decode respondent level viewing behaviors  Ability to decode HH Level Viewing Behaviors  


From a software solutions provider, we see a couple key takeaways:  

  • Media Companies will be investing research dollars for basic performance tracking insights, and in turn, losing focus on decoding and monetizing viewing behaviours 
  • Research Teams will spend more time cross referencing measurement and delivery numbers across nPower, Lake 5, Star Media, Tech Edge and RSG Audience platforms  
  • Research Teams will be shifting focus from Nielsen Data Science proficiencies to multi-currency data management efficiencies  


I believe the last point to be key.  

With the advent of a multi-currency landscape, research teams will be consumed by trying to match delivery numbers for a telecast across each data set and solution provider. Most likely highly paid executives will be explaining calculation methodologies for basic reporting metrics rather than focusing on how to target audience segments of strategic interest.  

The RSG Audience forecast for 2023 is that the most customer centric solution provider whose knowledge is rooted in understanding measurement nuances will be most successful.  

To talk to a member of the RSG Audience team and how we can support your analytics and data science needs in a multi-currency landscape, please reach out to RSGAudienceTeam@rsgmedia.com