Amazon also opens new currencies
Up to now, the considerable discussion around alternatives to measurement heavyweight Nielsen has come mainly from TV networks such as NBCUniveral, Paramount, Warner Bros. Discovery, Fox and TelevisaUnivision.
But YouTube’s move to offer its own alternative currency follows Amazon Prime’s recent move to open the door for trading on alternatives such as VideoAmp and iSpot.
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Neither platform is attributing those moves to dissatisfaction with Nielsen, but agency executives believe that’s what it’s about. Both YouTube and Amazon are spending big money on sports programming and now need the ad revenue to support it, said an agency executive. “They spend so much money on it that it has to go right,” the executive said.
For YouTube, the only official new currency alternative is its own co-viewing data. But in June, YouTube also moved to begin sharing data through its Ads Data Hub clean room with iSpot and VideoAmp for planning purposes. Should YouTube follow the same progression as with its own co-viewing alternative, making those Nielsen rivals available as trading options would come next.
Amazon announced in May that it will begin working with VideoAmp and iSpot to provide measurement. People familiar with the matter said Amazon is offering the Nielsen rivals as shadow currencies to compare against Nielsen for the 2023-24 season of “Thursday Night Football,” then allow trading on them 2024-25.
That move comes a year after Amazon reported its own server-based data on TNF audiences alongside Nielsen estimates each week, with Amazon’s numbers consistently higher. But an Amazon spokesman said the embrace of VideoAmp and iSpot was not a result of displeasure with Nielsen, and like YouTube couched the move as offering advertisers more choice.
“We always work back from customer needs and wants to determine the services we offer, and we hear from advertisers that they want choice in measurement,” according to an Amazon statement. “Our aim is to provide advertisers with a robust set of measurement and insights from multiple services in order to help them make more informed decisions. We will continue to expand to other service providers as we get additional requests from advertisers.”
CTV measurement battle grows
All of the moves come as advertisers have shown growing interest and concern with CTV measurement as the medium continues to win viewers and budgets from a fast-shrinking linear TV market, according to one measurement industry executive.
CTV measurement is fast shaping up as a more competitive marketplace for Nielsen than linear TV, and the executive said one future scenario could be where Nielsen maintains dominance in a shrinking linear TV market but multiple currencies become commonplace in streaming.
Much of the attention on this front has gone to the U.S. Joint Industry Committee, which is made up of major TV network companies, and how it will certify measurement companies to get server streaming data aggregated from such participants as NBCU, Paramount, Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery (but not, at this point, YouTube, Amazon or Disney Advertising, among others). But even outside the JIC, big platforms are opening up to alternative measurement, or their own measurement.
Nielsen isn’t participating in the JIC certification yet, and might not be able to get server data from at least some JIC members if it doesn’t. Rivals such as iSpot, VideoAmp and Comscore also appear to be ahead of Nielsen in one-on-one server integrations with streaming networks for their viewing data. And YouTube’s move to offer its own co-viewing data as currency hits at one of Nielsen’s biggest competitive advantages in the U.S.—having the biggest household panel for estimating how many people in each household are watching programs.