MRC finalizes Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards for video

Wednesday, September 4th, 2019
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MRC Issues Final Version of Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards For Video

NEW YORK, NY — The Media Rating Council (MRC) today issued a final version of its Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards.

This final version represents an important milestone in MRC’s multiyear effort to develop measurement standards designed specifically with today’s complex video consumption environments in mind. It sets forth provisions to guide the measurement of video advertising and content delivered through television, OTT and digital, including both desktop and mobile. These standards do not include measurements collected through any non-electronic means, such as diary collection and surveys or coincidental studies, areas which may be addressed in subsequent project phases.

The MRC Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards were produced in collaboration with an industry working group of more than 175 companies and supported by the ANA, 4As and the IAB, which are founding member associations of the Making Measurement Make Sense (3MS) initiative, as well as the Video Advertising Bureau. The final Standards come following a 60 day public comment period that began with issuance of a draft version of the Standards in March.

“With the release of these Standards, the industry now has clear path to produce cross platform metrics that will allow for greater analytical insights into video audiences, both within and across platforms, and to better facilitate cross platform advertising commerce,” noted George W. Ivie, Executive Director and CEO of the MRC. “We believe this represents a major step forward, as well as a culmination of the 3MS initiative efforts that have led to it.”

The most notable change in the final draft of the Standards from the public comment version is a revision in guidance on the previously introduced Duration Weighting provision. This calculation is now subject to a relative approach (that is, the duration viewable is divided by the advertisement’s creative length) as compared to the previously proposed provision, which used an absolute approach (that is, the duration viewable divided by a static 30 second denominator). The adjustment was a result of consideration of feedback received during the public comment period and from the industry working group, after a full evaluation of the relative merits of each approach.

Remaining unchanged from the public comment draft version of the Standards, however, is that the Duration Weighting provisions will still not become required of audience measurers until January 2021. Additional research will be conducted on Duration Weighting prior to that date and the MRC will supply the marketplace with appropriate advance notification should additional refinements to the duration weighting requirements be deemed necessary.

Some of the provisions in the final Standards are:

  • Viewable Impressions
    • For combined deduplicated cross-media video measurement, a viewability qualification threshold of 100% of pixels on screen for at least two continuous seconds must be utilized for both digital and linear components. Viewable impressions are the minimum required qualifying measurement unit for cross- media advertising Reach, Frequency and GRP.
  • Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (SIVT) Filtration
    • Cross-media audience measurement must be based on filtration inclusive of General and Sophisticated Invalid Traffic (GIVT and SIVT, respectively).
  • Duration
    • For audience measurement of any kind, including cross-media, average Viewable Duration reporting (based on unduplicated viewable duration) is required, with viewable completion audience metrics also required in cross-media video measurement. The Standard provides for flexibility in duration reporting based upon criteria such as actual and quartile.
  • Consideration of Audio
    • Presence of audio must be considered in determining a Viewable Video Impression (and input into GRP) for cross-media video. Measurement organizations should separately report Viewable video duration that is also audible (non-mute or non-zero) where this can be measured.

The MRC Cross-Media Audience Measurement Standards can be accessed through the Media Rating Council’s website.