Independent media-buying operation Horizon Media plans to test a local-TV audience measurement technology from Comscore, the latest big advertising or media entity to enlist a Nielsen rival for the purpose of counting TV viewers.
Horizon plans to examine Comscore’s local TV solution to see if it could serve as a new benchmark for advertising transactions in 2023. Horizon in April said that it intended to commit “up to 15% of its deals” in the industry’s upfront market to be based on new measurement currencies that don’t rely on the sector’s longtime tabulator of audiences, Nielsen. Horizon issued a request for information to various media companies in the fourth quarter of 2021, and said at the time that it expected to work “with media entities including Paramount, NBCUniversal, Warner Bros. Discovery, AMC Networks, as well as Allen Media Group and several other minority-owned and targeted companies, on collective solutions.”
The media buyer, which works for clients including Berkshire Hathaway’s Geico and Anheuser-Busch InBev’s Corona, to conduct its assessment in two different phases. The first will be a data analysis that will test the rigor, stability, and viability of Comscore data as an alternative local currency. The second will be conducted in the form of a live, in-market test in which Horizon will assess outcomes, or consumer reactions.
“Horizon is looking to evaluate Comscore on various elements of the ‘currency’ process. This will range from the efficacy of the planning data and tools to the stability and volatility of the data over time, as well as its usability within the buying process with Strata/Freewheel. We will also be assessing the ability to seamlessly onboard first and third party targeting,” said Eric Blankfein ,a Horizon executive vice president, in a statement. “We are encouraged by Comscore’s position on all these elements, enough so to give them the balance of 2022 to test as an alternative local video currency.”
Many players in the TV and advertising industries are testing Nielsen alternatives, with some expressing dismay at the measurement giant’s performance during the pandemic. Nielsen is trying to win back industry accreditation, which it lost last year, and has been developing its own technology to tabulate video audiences.
Comscore was the only local TV measurement solution selected to participate in the test, following a comprehensive RFP process.
“As brands continue to invest in local media, due to its consumer relevancy and proximity to point of purchase, the need for better reliable measurement has grown with it,” said Carol Hinnant, chief reveue officer at Comscore, in a statement. “We have worked through a lengthy RFP process with Horizon to substantiate that Comscore is the optimal provider for local currency. Comscore has been the only true local-market currency against the incumbent for more than ten years and we are proud to count Horizon among those looking for a more reliable and innovative alternative. We look forward to continuing through the testing phase and working with Horizon as we continue to advance innovation in local TV measurement.”