NEWS10 September 2009

TV industry unveils the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement

Data analytics North America

US— A group of 14 advertisers, TV content providers and media agencies have officially launched the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), with the aim of “promoting innovation in audience measurement for television and cross-platform media”.

Rumours of a consortium made up of industry heavyweights to rival the existing Nielsen system surfaced last month, although none of the companies said to be behind the project would confirm their involvement at the time.

But senior executives of the various companies behind CIMM, including WPP’s Martin Sorrell, have today outlined their reasons for the launch of the consortium.

Laura Desmond, global CEO of Starcom MediaVest Group: “It’s a new media eco-system, yet the industry relies on old media metrics. This simply can’t continue. Finding consistent, reliable measurement for today and future realities needs to be a top priority. With CIMM we look to address the issues – from unlocking the full potential of set-top-box data to identifying standards for assessing cross-platform performance – head on and with vigour.”

Jeff Zucker, president and CEO of NBC Universal, added: “Twenty-first century media needs 21st century measurement techniques. Existing systems are incapable of accurately measuring the media habits of our audience across today’s multiplicity of platforms. CIMM is an important step in helping to address this problem. As an industry, we can’t afford not to do this, because if we can’t measure our audience accurately, we can’t sell it.”

Other founding members of the group include ESPN, Mediabrands, News Corporation, Viacom, P&G, Unilever, Omnicom and Disney.

CIMM will be funded by the group’s founding participants, who plan to hire an independent managing director to oversee day-to-day operations.

The consortium said it plans to “explore and identify” new methodologies and approaches to audience measurement through a series of pilot studies with independent measurement companies. These studies will focus on what CIMM called two key areas: the current and future potential of TV measurement through set-top box data and new methods for cross-platform media measurement.

When rumours of an industry consortium surfaced, Nielsen wrote to staff to assure them that three-screen (TV, mobile and online) media measurement remained central to its business strategy. The next day, the ratings firm announced a new seven-year multi-screen measurement deal with Time Warner, one of the companies that had been mentioned as a member of the new consortium.

Despite that deal, Time Warner was confirmed today as one of the 14 companies behind the CIMM launch. Jeff Bewkes, chairman and CEO of the broadcaster, said: “As we continue to make our content available across additional and emerging platforms through initiatives like TV Everywhere, it becomes increasingly important to measure consumer interaction with our brands. Comprehensive and accurate measurement will have a direct effect on the continued growth of our industry.”