The Media Rating Council (MRC), NCC Media and a broad coalition of Multi-Channel Video Programming Distributors (MVPDs —cable, satellite and telco organizations) announced a collaboration on developing new guidelines for the creation of consistent digital video viewership data. This, in response to a booming number of research firms providing ratings services based on set-top box data – the coalition wants some standardization.
The objective is to foster consistency and enable accumulation of this data across MVPDs for the industry. As the source of digital viewership data, the focus of the MVPDs is on the fundamental elements of the data, rather than derived audience metrics. Participants are collaborating to develop best practices surrounding terms, definitions and calculations for accumulating digital viewership data. The guidelines will include specific recommendations for data processing procedures, which will cover data-capture, editing and reporting as well as guidance for privacy and security safeguards and appropriate consumer notice and communication.
Once the guidelines are drafted, the MRC will seek input from the broader media industry, including programmers, content providers, advertisers and their agencies, media researchers and consumer advocates, to facilitate the discussion and seek consensus among the participants.
Pat Liguori, SVP, Research & Electronic Measurement for the ABC Station Group and chair of the Council for Research Excellence’s Set Top Box Committee, tells RBR-TVBR, “The collaborative efforts of the MRC, NCC and MVPDs is a much needed step towards the creation of a portfolio of common practices that one hopes will be adopted by the owners, creators and aggregators of set top box data. Kudos to the MRC, NCC and MVPDs.”
“The MRC is pleased to participate with NCC Media and the MVPDs on this initiative particularly because it will set the foundation for incorporating digital video viewership data into the industry’s toolset for audience measurement,” said George Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC. “This will enable the responsible leveraging of this valuable, granular data by our industry.”
“Advertising is an important component of the US economy as well as a leading indicator of economic health,” according to Bill Koenigsberg, President, CEO and Founder of Horizon Media and National Chairman of the 4A’s Media Policy Committee. He added, “Having accurate audience estimates is critical to making sound advertising decisions. Establishing similar guidelines for set top box data across the MVPD community would provide more accurate, inclusive measurement.”
Finally, the initiative intends to involve other interested organizations, including advertising agencies, marketers, third-party measurement organizations and media-related entities who would like to participate in the guideline setting process. Organizations with such interest can contact MRC at [email protected]. Prior to finalization, comments on the draft guidelines will be solicited from other industry organizations and the public.