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This article was originally published by View the interview video here.

Smart TVs offer amazing new opportunities to target viewers at the household level – but getting your head around what is still a fragmented and evolving ecosystem is a bit like herding cats.

In a sit-down discussion at Cannes Lions, Tracey Scheppach – who encountered that challenge over years spent specialising in smart TV at Publicis and Starcom, and who now runs her own Matter More Media – led a discussion on the conundrum with two execs focused on improving measurement…

  • Kelly Abcarian – General Manager of Video Advanced Advertising, Nielsen
  • Jonathan Steuer – Chief Research Officer, OMG

Abcarian began by excitedly illustrating the growth the industry is seeing in smart TV adoption, something which is lighting up the opportunity for broadcasters and marketers alike.

“When you look at the growth of smart TVs, it’s been incredible,” Abcarian said. “Almost half of the homes have at least one enabled smart TV, 47%. We look four years back, that was at 16% so it just shows you the hugest acceleration.”

But that growth is driven by proliferation. There are many smart TV viewing systems, many ad delivery mechanisms and many ways to measure the ultimate consumption of smart TV ads and content.

“The thing that concerns me … is, we need all of the smart TVs to be available under the same umbrella … both from a data-for-targeting-and-measurement purposes, and from an addressable-inventory point of view,” said Steuer, who also spent years in the trenches on the same issues at TiVo.

To that end, both Abcarian and Steuer both recently helped drive a new “measurement taskforce” in June, focused on improving data readiness, transparency and reconciling smart TV consumption to Nielsen C3 and C7 ratings.

That, says Abcarian, is the “number one thing I tell everyone that is the core focus for me and my team to solve this year”, because she believes that has been holding back the industry’s ability to realize full advanced TV ad benefits.

“Our target is June of next year,” she said. “We’re working alongside the committee and based on kind of progress and feedback and the bringing that transparency and ensuring the methodologies right is critically important.

“With C3 (and) C7 we’re under penning $70 billion, so there’s real money at stake here, so we have to get this right and we’re very committed to doing so.”

OMG’s Steuer said his agency holding group, like the others, wants to achieve a person-based view of consumers, usable across all media platforms, built out in to a unified measurement framework.

Hard problems don’t have easy solutions. But, if the growing raft of initiatives and working partnerships is anything to go, the “umbrella” may become a lot more effective soon.