On December 4 2018, in London, egta, the Brussels-based association of television and radio sales houses organised, in the framework and with the support of MediaRoad an event titled Bridges in Audience Measurement. This forward-looking conference brought together close to 120 representatives of leading advertising companies, TV broadcasters, sales houses, media agencies, research companies and ad tech providers. The main aim of the conference was to discuss the necessary evolution of TV audience measurement, challenges as well as possible solutions.

As an organisation which represents a very wide network of TV and radio sales houses: large and small, in all kinds of markets, in Europe and beyond, egta is ideally positioned to represent the TV ad sales industry at large in the context of this specific “bridging” experience.

In her welcome notes, Katty Roberfroid, egta’s Director General, stressed the importance of cooperation between all stakeholders:

When it comes to measurement, egta – its members and Board of Directors – is convinced that building bridges is what our industry needs most: between industry partners, between continents, between media, devices and platforms, between content and advertising, between various fields of expertise, between individual initiatives, methodologies – older and widely accepted ones as well as newer and equally valuable ones.

The event, which was governed by the principle of “no more finger pointing and winging but cooperation” was divided into three main parts:

Part 1: Defining priorities. The ambition was to understand and hopefully find some commonalities between the expectations of all main stakeholders – advertisers, agencies and broadcasters. This session tackled the main needs of each individual player in the field of audience as well as efficiency measurement. Each contributor was invited to suggest actionable priorities for the future and concrete contributions to the process.

Part 2: Building the media accountability toolbox. A series of nine short interventions by companies who provide different tools to deploy in addition to existing TAM and panel structures with the aim of improving and assessing viewers’ attention, viewability, full-funnel attribution, audience targeting, transparency while making use of new sources of data such as telco data, TV analytics, ACR and possibly exploring innovative concepts like blockchain.

Part 3: Inventing the future today: trying out new solutions. This last session involved stakeholders who are already multiplying initiatives, trying out new solutions and taking the industry to the next level while proposing a more complete approach to measurement.

Four key areas for action seem to have emerged during this BAM conference, fields in which TV needs to make further progress in order to secure a bright future for the industry and maintain high quality of services to both viewers and advertisers. Those areas are:

  • The evolution towards a holistic audience measurement and the need to make further progress to allow for the proper media planning of all forms of video inventory across platforms.
  • Improvements to the ad buying infrastructure and commercial innovations to gain in efficiency. TV needs to make the ad-buying process easier and increase the accessibility of inventory across different channels, publishers and markets. Comparability and harmonisation seem key.
  • The deployment of new data sources and new technologies that will help ultimately improve viewers’ experience, in particular by reducing the ad load and making ads more relevant and targeted. This will eventually increase the effectiveness of ads and will drive performance for advertisers.
  • Addressing the attribution challenge. To do so, TV needs to enrich its first-party data to allow for the measurement of its direct impact on business KPIs such as performance, sales, ROI in addition. This alone will help television prove that it is efficient on both sides of the funnel: branding and business results.

There is a strong call for better collaboration across Europe if the TV industry is to secure a bright future for itself. It was also made clear at this event that the time to take action is NOW! We must start working with the most up-to-date solutions that already exist and develop new tools fast.

To address the many demands of the market, egta will continue to explore and develop a collective action plan for its members in the broadcast and ad sales industry, identifying immediate actions, short to medium-term needs and potential solutions. egta will continue to encourage all stakeholders to work together and to test these solutions, improve them and get them to the market.

As a first step in this direction, egta is organising its annual Market Intelligence Meeting (Jan 31, Budapest) where approximately 200 egta members from TV and Radio sales houses from all around Europe will gather to discuss the future of TAM, ROI/effectiveness, data and media attribution. During the connected forum on European TV Data and Metrics (Jan 30, Budapest) the BAM key findings and a possible framework for action will be presented to representatives of the TV industry.

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