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Despite progress on JICs, US TV advertisers ‘not likely to abandon legacy currencies’

Despite progress on JICs, US TV advertisers ‘not likely to abandon legacy currencies’

Despite some of the US’s biggest measurement companies reaching a landmark joint-industry currency certification for TV trading this month, advertisers aren’t likely to abandon legacy currencies just yet.

That’s according to Erin Firneno, VP of business intelligence and research company Advertiser Perceptions, who has noted that more than 40% of ad buyers found alternative currencies to be just as effective as traditional currencies, suggesting that more needs to be done in order to get advertisers to switch over.

Last week, measurement companies Comscore, iSpot and VideoAmp secured conditional certification as currency for TV ad buying and selling by the US Joint Industry Committee (JIC), an initiative formed earlier this year to help standardise various cross-platform currencies.

A full certification is expected to be awarded in early 2024 for those who pass. It’s not likely a coincidence that this would come ahead of the US TV upfronts season in the spring. Whereas upfronts are traditionally a chance for networks to woo advertisers with their post-summer primetime line up, advertisers are increasingly looking for greater measurement confidence given the well-publicised concerns about Nielsen ratings. 

Insights from Advertiser Perceptions suggest that advertisers are more open to the usage of alternative currencies, with the majority supporting a multi-currency landscape. 

However, two-thirds (66%) think it is important to agree on a common short list of currency providers. Meanwhile, most advertisers would prefer to use “between two-to-three” currencies, and that the industry should support “no more than four” currencies in total.

Firneno told The Media Leader that the idea of an industry-approved short list greatly appeals to advertisers.

“[Advertisers] are concerned about the challenge of reconciling differences in audience counts between different providers and a lack of standardisation,” she said. “Of course, operational challenges also come into play, including additional costs.”

Moreover, advertisers are currently testing alternative currencies against legacy currencies and they’re finding their performance to be just as effective, Firneno added. “Inertia always wins; it will be challenging to motivate advertisers to change buying habits if they don’t see a clear and substantial benefit to using alternative currencies.”

Nevertheless, perceptions are changing. Advertiser Perceptions has seen a significant increase in advertisers more familiar with the industry’s move to alternative currencies. As Firneno explained, “They’re slowly getting used to the idea that the future may be multi-currency.”

Roger Gane, CEO, OMG!, on 28 Sep 2023
“This seems to be an ‘on the one hand - on the other hand’ kind of article! The key word is ‘currency’: (singular). If the US does accept multiple TV measurement sources - even a shortlist - there will be inevitable cherry-picking, and the potential breakdown of a true trading currency. Good luck with that!”

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