Advanced Television

CIMM to assess US TV measurement panels

August 1, 2023

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM), the US-based collaboration of companies focused on promoting innovation and best practices in media measurement, metrics and data, has launched a study to examine the future role and value of panels for TV and cross-platform measurement in the US.

“Consumer research panels have played a critical part of the television measurement ecosystem for decades,” said Jon Watts, Managing Director, CIMM. “However, the growing use of different datasets to support measurement, the shift of viewing  to connected devices and increasingly sophisticated modelling techniques have led many industry participants to question the value of panels. At the same time, we’re seeing a proliferation of new panels for calibration and other purposes and steady improvements in panel technologies. This project aims to align the industry around a clear understanding and common vision for the future role and value of panels in the US TV market.”

Led by Joan FitzGerald, Data ImpacX, and Jonathan Steuer, Anonymous Media Research, this new study aims to establish an industry consensus and improved understanding and alignment about the role and value of panels, in a fast-changing media market, identifying the most up-to-date panel technologies, future opportunities for innovation, cost structures, their coverage and purposes.

The project will enable the industry to better comprehend the different perspectives on panels across publishers, agencies, marketers and providers, including the extent to which different constituencies believe panels are or are not needed, and why.

“It seems clear that a single ‘gold-standard’ research panel of tens of thousands of households is no longer sufficient for understanding TV viewership or for meeting the requirements for cross-platform video measurement,” stated FitzGerald. “In other words, it seems clear that the days of ‘panel-first’ TV measurement are over. Digital platforms and other digital devices enable extremely granular measurement of many aspects of media behaviour by collection and analysis of device log files, server log files and ACR software running on media consumption devices. However, such big data sources come with significant limitations.”

To address these limitations – such as incomplete coverage and sub-par data accuracy – and identify a path forward, the study will explore the extent to which different panel use cases are unique or substitutable with other approaches, as well as providing an authoritative assessment of new approaches and requirements for statistical reliability.”

“Through our study with CIMM, we hope the industry can reach consensus about the need for panels or panel alternatives, as well as minimum requirements and viable product definitions,” said Steuer. “Ideally, this project will enable the development of such a consensus position and minimum requirements for panels or for alternatives in the US marketplace.”

The initiative is being supported by a Project Steering Group of: Yee Pang, Group Director, Research & Measurement, GroupM; Larry Allen, VP and GM of Addressable Enablement, Comcast Advertising; Howard Shimmel, President, Janus Strategy and Insights; Helen Katz, EVP, Research, Publicis; and Artie Bulgrin, Measurement Consultant & Project Lead, ANA among others.

“Panels are a critical resource for advertisers – but requirements and perspectives are shifting, as new approaches gain traction,” said Pang. “With our group’s collective strengths, we believe the CIMM study can play an important role in helping the industry to align around a common understanding of the value of panels and how they fit into a modern and evolving media marketplace.”

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