The Media Rating Council has issued a draft cross-media standard for video that toughens rules for digital viewable impressions but also holds linear TV to new higher standards for commercial ratings.
The draft, which delivers on a long-sought industry goal, comes a year after the MRC issued a call for research on the subject, and a few months later than the original plan to issue the draft by the end of last year. The draft initiates a 60-day industry comment period, with a final version expected by the third quarter, the MRC said.
After nearly two years of industry speculation, the new standard toughens rules for viewable video impressions – raising the standard to 100 percent of the ad in view, from the prior 50 percent, for at least two seconds.
But the viewability standard also will be applied to linear TV for cross-media reporting, where digital and TV impressions are both included. That would require that TV ratings specify individual commercials were in view, as opposed to average-minute ratings across commercial pods now in commonly used Nielsen measures.
The draft cross-media rules also establish a "duration weighting" standard, where the total amount of time, either by seconds or by "quartile" portion of the ad, is reported, either in digital or linear TV media. That too requires more precise ratings data for individual commercials than applies to current widely used Nielsen TV ratings.
That standard, which would take effect in 2021, would require measurement firms to measure either TV or digital ads second-by-second, "or if they don't they would have to model their less granular data," such as average-minute reporting or periodic polling or metering, to estimate second-level viewership, MRC CEO George Ivie says. "The MRC's audit would have to verify/validate that any such model is an accurate representation of the second-level data."
The draft standard also calls for general and sophisticated invalid traffic filtration to fight fraud and requires "consideration" of audio measurement for video ratings or impressions. The MRC says "measurement organizations should separately report viewable video duration that is also audible (non-mute or non-zero) where this can be measured." If a measurement service can't measure audible impressions, that should be disclosed, the MRC says.
An appendix to the draft standard outlines a new "duration weighted viewable impression" as a share of a 30-second denominator. "This is highly encouraged" as an input into cross-media video exposure metrics for digital and linear TV, the MRC says, and is planned as an additional requirement in the standard starting in 2021. But the MRC says duration weighting shouldn't be applied to longer-form video content.
In a statement, Bob Liodice, CEO of the Association of National Advertisers, pointed to the draft standard as a sign "positive outcomes of the industry's 3MS [the Making Measurement Make Sense development program launched in 2011] are now being realized, and we're delighted to have proposed standards that have the potential to provide effective cross-media audience measurement."
The Media Rating Council is an organization with membership from throughout the ad industry developed to oversee and accredit U.S. media measurement, originally in response to Congressional hearings in the 1960s.