NEWS24 August 2021

NBCUniversal calls for new approach to media measurement

Media News North America

US – Broadcaster NBCUniversal has called for ‘measurement independence’ in the media industry, saying that current approaches to measuring media are ‘outdated'.

Person using a TV remote control

NBCUniversal is currently bringing together several partners to "help modernise the industry’s approach", according to an open letter penned by Kelly Abcarian, executive vice-president, measurement and impact, advertising and partnerships.

The company said it is assembling a "suite of interoperable measurement solutions that are as advanced, diverse, easy-to-use, and multi-platform as the ways people watch content".

The move comes as Nielsen seeks a hiatus for the Media Rating Council’s accreditation of its ratings service.

NBCUniversal did not say it would not work with Nielsen, but said in the letter: "The media and technology landscape has completely transformed over the last few years—yet measurement remains outdated. Why? Because the advertising industry has not adapted and it’s holding us back.

"We need all our industry’s builders – including Nielsen – to architect an entirely new blueprint. It’s time for us to declare measurement independence, and build solutions that will serve all consumers, advertisers, publishers, and platforms for the next century."

Abcarian said in the letter that "diverse and dynamic consumer behaviours" are ignored when companies depend on "outdated advertising measurement", adding: "If consumers can embrace layers of complexity, then our industry should too. If there are multiple viewing experiences, then we need multiple yardsticks."

Abcarian joined NBCUniversal from Nielsen in April 2021 after 15 years at the measurement company, most recently as general manager of advanced video advertising. 

The Media Rating Council, which audits companies that measure media to determine whether they comply with industry standards, has not yet publicly announced its ruling on the hiatus question.