MRC Digital Audio Measurement Guidelines Up For Comment

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The Media Rating Council (MRC) on Tuesday issued a draft version of its Digital Audio Measurement Guidelines for a 45-day public comment period.


The draft was developed in collaboration with a large working group of organizations involved in the digital audio industry, which included digital audio ad buyers and sellers, digital audio content distributors, measurement services, and others.

Also integrally involved in the project as participating industry associations are the Radio Advertising Bureau (RAB), the NAB’s Committee on Local Radio Audience Measurement (COLRAM), the Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB), and the IAB Tech Lab.

The MRC’s Digital Audio Measurement Guidelines draft is designed to provide industry guidance on measurement and reporting requirements to be applied to digital audio advertising and content in either browser or application environments that require a software-based audio player. The principles noted in these guidelines can apply to digital audio ads and content regardless of whether they are delivered through a digital audio streaming environment, or through a progressive download approach, the latter of which may also include podcasts.

MRC says the guidelines, when finalized, will be available to serve as a basis for the assessment of digital audio measurement products as part of an independent audit and accreditation process, such as those administered by the MRC.

Among key areas addressed in the Digital Audio Measurement Guidelines draft are:

• A definition of an “Audio Ad Impression” that requires the ad to have been played with the digital audio player in a non-muted state and at a non-zero volume. In addition, these ads must be filtered for invalid traffic using methods that comply with the requirements of the MRC’s Invalid Traffic Detection and Filtration Guidelines Addendum’s provisions for General Invalid Traffic (GIVT); the use of additional Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) detection processes is strongly encouraged, but not required for most forms of digital audio measurement.
• To qualify as an “Audible Ad Impression”—in a sense, the audio equivalent to a Viewable Ad Impression—the ad also must play for a minimum duration of two continuous seconds (any two continuous seconds of the ad will qualify in this regard), in addition to satisfying the requirements for qualification as an Audio Ad Impression.
• The Guidelines spell out the approaches that should be applied to the measurement and reporting of digital audio metrics under a variety of different content and advertising distribution models.

These model permutations include:
1. Digital audio models with static content and static ad loads, simulcast in combination with an audio over-the-air broadcast;
2. Digital audio models with static content and static ads that are digital-only streams, and do not have corresponding broadcast simulcasts;
3. Digital audio models with static content but dynamic ads;
4. Digital audio models with dynamic content and dynamic ads.

The draft document is available for review through a link at www.mediaratingcouncil.org.
Comments on the draft will be accepted until Aug. 10, 2017, and can be submitted via e-mail to [email protected]

Comments received will be reviewed and considered, the MRC says, and a revised document will be shared with the project working group prior to being issued as final.