His hope is for a single new industry panel “that would provide support for various use cases,” Tucker said. Conceivably, that panel might initially be smaller to support the ANA’s pilots next year and ultimately grow to the size the VAB seeks, he said.
The economic model for the panel is among topics of discussion over the next month, both ANA and VAB executives said. Cunningham said his hope is that VAB and ANA membership would jointly back a panel launch financially.
“Our goals and ambitions align very tightly with” the ANA’s, he said. “We may have come at it from slightly different angles, but we both want to build something with a similar profile, the variable being how big can you build it?”
“September is when I think a lot of things will be clearer,” Tucker said. But he said one goal of the ANA is not to have the setting up of the new panel slow down the cross-media measurement pilot the group wants to start operating next year.
“Our biggest concern is that things slow down because of specifications for panels that are beyond what we’re trying to get done,” he said.
Race against Nielsen?
Other measurement industry executives, who spoke on the condition of anonymity given their business with the parties involved, said the VAB, too, might not be served by building a panel that takes too long to set up if its goal is to have Nielsen competitors using it by the time Nielsen One is operational.
“I guess panels are back in vogue, right?” Tucker said. It's a shift somewhat in industry mindset, which had turned against Nielsen's or any panel as inevitably too small to measure an increasingly fragmented media market. But Tucker said: “Panels are now required to calibrate big data sets.”
One reason is that many advertisers simply aren’t willing to give up on demographics for targeting ads, said Howard Shimmel, head of strategy for predictive analytics firm DatafuelX and a former head of research for Turner Broadcasting.
“Big data is great,” he said. “But there are segments in the country that are not represented in big data—like over-the-air homes without a broadband connection. And other segments like Hispanic homes, even with broadband, are just not represented in big numbers in those data sets.”