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Robust Response To NBCU’s Call For Alternative Ratings Service.

NBCUniversal’s request for proposals for new methods to measure TV viewing and gauge advertiser impact is getting a strong response. The media giant says 80% of the 54 companies that received RFPs have agreed to participate, including Nielsen. Responses were due on Monday and NBCU says it has granted extensions to a small number of companies. It intends to wrap up the process by the week of Sept. 20, according to Broadcasting & Cable.

“We are getting to work right away on how NBCU can bring better measurement to its advertisers to prove the performance of our amazing content,” said NBCU Executive VP of Measurement and Impact Kelly Abcarian. “It is truly eye opening to see how many good companies there are out there providing the potential to move measurement forward.”

Calling current media measurement “outdated,” Abcarian, a former Nielsen executive earlier put out a call for the advertising industry to pursue new “measurement yardsticks” to match the different ways consumers view video programming. Interoperable data sets, she says, will produce better inputs, more ways to de-duplicate data and new methods to measure any key performance indicator.

It’s unclear whether what Abcarian is proposing would be a new measurement system managed by a third party service or one that NBCU manages itself. And while some are looking for a new blueprint for media measurement, Procter & Gamble, one of the world’s largest advertisers, has underscored the importance of objective impartial measurement. “P&G makes decisions involving billions of dollars on where to invest our media money. These are big bets so we need objective, validated measurement to be sure that we’re getting the view ability, audience, reach and frequency we pay for,” the company said in a statement sent to Variety. “Therefore it’s imperative that we have an objective, impartial judge to perform this measurement.”

P&G made the statement in response to a query from Variety about Nielsen requesting a “hiatus” from the Media Rating Council’s accreditation process of its TV ratings service, which came under fire for undercounting TV audience estimates during the pandemic because of COVID-related restrictions on its in-person panel-related maintenance and recruitment procedures.

Meanwhile, Nielsen’s biggest competitor in the video space is making it known that it plans to seek MNRC audits for its television measurement service earlier than initially planned. Comscore has asked the MRC to move up the start date for an MRC audit from early 2022 to no later than Oct. 15, 2021. The two parties have been in talks since the start of the year about Comscore’s TV ratings products, which have been in an inactive status since 2018, according to MediaPost. The talks are designed to “provide feedback to Comscore in its preparations to resubmit its Comscore TV product into the MRC’s audit and accreditation process,” and the MRC “will work with Comscore in the coming weeks to formalize this request and to finalize an audit plan,” the MRC said.

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