MediaPost – CIMM Day 1: Essence Media Chief Calls For ‘Wholesale’ Measurement Change

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This article citing insights from CIMM’s annual Summit was originally published via MediaPost.


While the convergence of TV and digital video audience measurement has made material strides in the past year, much more needs to be done before the advertising industry has the kind of frictionless planning and buying tools needed to understand the reach and frequency, duplication and attribution of viewers. That was the consensus of a series of panel discussions on Day 1 of CIMM’s (Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement) virtual summit on Wednesday.

In panels that evoked metaphors ranging from “climate change” to “the red pill in the Matrix” to “Dr. Strangelove 2021,” advertising and video industry research experts debated how to put the right “building blocks” together and get past the kind of partisan selling that has impeded a new, unified industry currency.

“The industry is making progress in all of these areas, but much more work needs to be done as technical and business challenges remain,” said CIMM CEO and Managing Director Jane Clarke during her opening remarks, which cited strides in made during the past year in standardizing smart TV and digital set-top data, as well as “ID resolution” to enable the “deduplication of audiences,” but the complexity of what still needs to be done was underscored by a chart used by opening panel moderator EY’s Janet Balis. The chart (see below) is an eye-straining attempt to organize all the elements the industry needs to consider based on a workshop conducted by EY.

She also presented a somewhat cleaner, but still quite complex organization dubbed “Adam’s Wheel” (see bottom), which she said was named after panelist Adam Gerber, Global Chief Media Officer at GroupM’s Essence.

During the panel that followed, Gerber agreed with other panelists that some strides were made in the past year, partly due to the impetus of the COVID-19 pandemic, but he said the industry already was “behind the eight ball” before it, and that changes in consumer behavior have only exacerbated the need to resolve the impediments to accurately measuring their behavior.

“We have a fire under us that needs to be addressed,” he said, adding that the industry needs to make “wholesale” changes and “instigate even faster adoption.”

Specifically, Gerber said one of the main impediments is the fact that many suppliers still strive to provide measures that highlight their own inventory at the detriment of marketers’ needs to understand what consumers are doing holistically.

“We’re seeing a number of initiatives to integrate different platforms and data initiatives in the industry to support campaign-level or marketer-centric initiatives, not just publisher or platform capabilities,” he cited.

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