Horizon Media sees 15% of initial dollars allocated to new measures

As TV networks scramble to find a new yardstick for measuring modern video audiences, one of the top buyers of ad time says he’s already waiting at the finish line.

Horizon Media, an independent Madison Avenue media agency that works for spendthrift clients like Berkshire Hathaway’s Geico and Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Corona, said it intends to commit “up to 15% of its trades” in the industry’s upcoming market using new currency metrics that aren’t dependent on the industry’s longtime ratings tabulator, Nielsen. Horizon has sent a request for information to various media companies in the fourth quarter of 2021 and expects to work “with media entities such as Paramount, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery, AMC Networks, as well as Allen Media Group and several other minority-owned companies. and targeted businesses, on collective solutions,” the company said in a statement.

Horizon will continue to use Nielsen’s metrics, but also intends to incorporate “2-3 alt currencies” as a basis for making deals early on when US TV networks try to sell off most of their commercial inventory for their next program cycle.

“For us, the goal is quite simple – to better measure the impact of our campaigns and the networks that contribute the most to the success of the business, rather than simply measuring the audience of impressions,” said David Campanelli, chief investment officer of Horizon Media, in a statement. “Without a doubt, a multi-currency ecosystem will become the new normal for business transactions, and we intend to lead that charge.”

Horizon’s decision highlights new complexities surfacing in the television industry, which for years has been ranked based on Nielsen measures of how many people have watched particular content. In 2022, as more and more people step away from traditional linear television and streaming programs at times of their choosing, these benchmarks are no longer enough. And while Nielsen is set to introduce its own new methodology, flaws in its current technique caused it to lose industry accreditation last September, prompting TV networks to try designing their own counting systems. number of viewers.

NBCUniversal, one of the most vocal media companies, is working with iSpot.TV, while units of the newly merged Warner Bros. Discovery aligned with other metrics like VideoAmp and Comscore. Their efforts aren’t guaranteed: None of the companies have been accredited by the Media Rating Council, an industry body that certifies measurement processes. Some don’t even try to get approval from the organization.

Other big media buyers are scrambling to hedge their bets as the industry tries to see what alternative measures, if any, might work. Publicis Media, for example, is currently involved in testing with NBCU of iSpotTV’s work, as well as Disney, which is involved with Nielsen as it attempts to launch a new measurement system later this year. Omnicom Media Group is testing some of the new concepts used by Warner Bros. Discovery.

Nielsen will stay in the mix. The proposed new currencies of measurement are ultimately backed by the networks themselves, the equivalent of the student telling the teacher what grade to give on homework. Many advertisers would still like an independent referee to judge who watches their ads. But they may not be as rigid as they have been in the past, as many allow Google, Facebook and other new media sites to provide proof of the effectiveness of social media and search. . And there’s always the lingering question of investment: do any of the networks and any of their new partners have millions to invest in an entirely new measurement infrastructure that isn’t likely to s to scale the industry?

But that doesn’t stop media buyers and their customers from exploring new frontiers. “We need to understand the nuances of the new measurement sources and also how that will affect how we do things going forward,” said Samantha Rose, senior vice president of strategic investments at Horizon. The company already works with Paramount Global.

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