ABC, ABC Family, ESPN to offer online ad guarantees


DisneyIn preparation for upfront negotiations, Disney says it plans to offer combined viewing guarantees for TV and online across ABC, ABC Family and ESPN. The networks are adopting the Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings system to measure viewing across both television and online sites, and will base all sales on estimates of what total viewing will be on all those platforms.

Adam Gerber, VP/sales development and marketing for ABC, said the company gave combined viewing guarantees to some advertisers in last year’s upfront but expected “a much more robust demand for those kinds of deals” this year.

TV networks already guarantee advertisers that they will deliver a certain numbers of viewers in specific demos. When viewing falls short of those numbers, the networks provide free make-goods in spot inventory. But online viewing has lacked a service that could provide similar information for video streamed online.

“We are seeing a rapidly growing demand for cross-platform deals,” Gerber told The NY Times.

Specifically, ABC, ABC Family and ESPN are using Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings audience composition data in conjunction with total delivered impression counts from ad servers to calculate viewer demographics. Known as “ABC Unified”, the solution gives marketers the ability to easily buy content across TV, computers, tablets and phones with a single demographic audience guarantee. ESPN will employ the service for select clients.

Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings audience figures are reported daily and the amount of time the ad is up online is up to the networks and their advertisers.

The multi-business unit commitment follows more than six months of extensive testing of Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings and is based on the solution’s Media Rating Council accreditation, unique methodology, expansive samples and evolving measurement capabilities.

“Measuring online and on-demand video audiences is complex, and finding an approach that balances the existing TV business and emerging ‘screen agnostic’ world is increasingly important,” said Geri Wang, ABC President of Sales. “Viewers are watching increasing amounts of our content on more screens, and we have to manage that across a variety of technology platforms, operating systems and distribution relationships while also accommodating the transition to dynamic ad impression delivery. Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings is a good first step at addressing the new realities of our business—it helps our clients better understand the audience value of online video, and gives us a more accountable way to package and deliver advertising value across platform.”

As part of the relationship, ABC, ABC Family and ESPN are working with Nielsen to inform the next generation of Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings. Specifically, they are addressing the unique challenges related to demographic-based online inventory forecasting, impression allocation and cross-platform audience measurement.

“Disney and ESPN are regularly at the forefront of innovation, pushing the boundaries of understanding consumers and getting those insights into the hands of their advertisers,” said Steve Hasker, President, Global Product Leadership, Nielsen. “We look forward to enhancing their strategy with high-quality, comparable data across screens.”

Last year, ABC and Nielsen announced work to develop a custom tablet measurement panel and consumer insights connecting media exposure with purchase behavior.

See the NY Times story here.