NBCUniversal launches measurement RFP, calls for ‘measurement independence’

The review follows Nielsen’s third request for hiatus in under a year.

NBCUniversal has launched a measurement RFP, calling for “measurement independence.” On Monday, the mass media company announced in a blog post that it will no longer be dependent on one metric and partner to determine value.

The announcement comes as the Media Ratings Council is re-evaluating the status of measurement partner Nielsen’s accreditation for their national TV service. Nielsen requested a hiatus for the service on August 12, the third service Nielsen has requested a hiatus for in under 12 months.

In October 2020, Nielsen entered a six-month hiatus for its digital ad ratings (DAR) service, which was extended through this October, when the MRC TV committee will vote whether the service should remain unaccredited. In January, Nielsen entered another six-month hiatus for its local TV ratings service, which was also extended through the end of 2021. 

A solution has not been presented for either of the services within the extension timeframe.

The measurement landscape has also become increasingly complex for advertisers, publishers, media owners and buyers as Google and Apple phase out third-party cookies. 

NBCUniversal is now calling all data partners to “build out new yardsticks that define complete value,” said Kelly Abcarian, EVP of measurement and impact at NBCUniversal, in an email. 

“Just look at the Olympics, it had more than 120 billion minutes of engagement, across all NBCU properties, but ratings alone did not tell the full story,” she said. “We believe that a rising tide of measurement innovation will lift all ships. And, if we get it right, it will have a multiplier effect for both consumers and advertisers, and everyone wins.”

As a result, the media company sent the RFP to more than 50 measurement partners, including Nielsen, ComScore and DataPlusMath, as well as streaming-oriented companies such as Conviva, Truthset, VideoAmp and iSpot. According to the RFP, obtained by Campaign US, NBCUniversal is calling for measurement partners to provide details on how it can measure categories including audience verification, audience measurement, brand measurement, incrementality measurement, multi-touch attribution measurement and business outcome guarantee. 

Measurement companies must detail their existing and future capabilities as well as methodology. The deadline to submit is August 23 at 5 PM ET.

“Interoperability, in a consumer safe and privacy compliant way, is the future of our industry, and the fastest road to measurement independence and a better consumer experience,” said Abcarian in a blog post. “In this fragmented landscape, we all understand different pieces of the consumer experience. So, let's make it whole.”

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