Kelly Abcarian, Supporter Of Alternative Measurement, Is Leaving NBCU


In a surprise move, Ad Age reports that NBCU has laid off Kelly Abcarian, executive VP of measurement and impact. Chief Data Officer, John Lee will be assuming Abcarian’s responsibilities with measurement and research. In an internal email Abcarian wrote, “Today’s news was a surprise to me as I thought I would be with you on this journey together, but I know you all will be amazing and will continue on building together.” Abcarian went on to praise John Lee. NBCU also made several other changes in its ad sales department.

Abcarian joined NBCU in April 2021 after a long career at Nielsen
. During her tenure at NBCU, she had been vocal in her dissatisfaction with the current status of audience measurement, most notably Nielsen. Abcarian had spearheaded the NBCU Measurement Framework involving over 150 audience measurement companies. Abcarian was also an active participant in numerous industry panels stressing the need for improved audience measurement and currencies as viewers migrated to other platforms.

Earlier this year, Abcarian was active in the industry-wide “Joint Industry Committee”, involving a number of prominent programmers, ad agencies and measurement companies. In September, the JIC granted iSpot, VideoAmp and Comscore
conditional certification with their audience measurement capabilities. Abcarian’s departure comes at a time when Nielsen rivals are continuing to reach measurement agreements with programmers and agencies.

On October 10, a press release from iSpot and Paramount

Global announced an agreement allowing for the measurement and transaction of national TV ad campaigns with iSpot currency metrics across Paramount’s U.S. media and streaming holdings. At the time of the announcement, the two companies had been finalizing the technological integration required for quick and seamless ad transactions within Paramount’s proprietary and licensed systems. iSpot will use their measurement data including its cross-platform capabilities.

In a statement, John Halley, President of Paramount Global, said, “Paramount has taken the lead in accelerating new measurement and currency enablement because the future of our industry depends on it. We are committed to supporting all new currency providers certified by the U.S. Joint Industry Committee, and we look forward to bringing greater transparency and flexibility to the way TV is transacted and measured. Our partnership with iSpot helps facilitate that goal.”

Sean Muller, iSpot CEO and Founder, added, “At the heart of new currency initiatives are ad buyers making more sophisticated investment decisions based on faster and more accurate cross-platform measurement.”

Paramount Global’s media and streaming holdings include; CBS, Showtime Networks, Paramount Pictures, Nickelodeon, MTV, Comedy Central, BET, Paramount+ and Pluto TV. Paramount expects to measure and transact using iSpot’s data beginning in first quarter 2024. Last September, iSpot’s ad reporting system was accredited by the Media Rating Council. Also, in September, iSpot acquired 605, a next-generation measurement and attribution company

On November 1, Hallmark Media announced it had added VideoAmp as a currency for transacting advanced audiences and demographic guarantees. This will enable Hallmark access to VideoAmp’s advanced measurement capabilities to transact on, allowing advertisers to better target the types of consumers most likely to engage with their brands.

In a press release, Casey Gould, SVP, Ad Sales and Advanced Advertising, Hallmark Media, noted, “We’re proud to work with VideoAmp to provide their advanced measurement to our clients and further solidify our commitment to advanced advertising solutions. As we head into the launch of our highly anticipated holiday season, this partnership will offer our advertisers new, rewarding data findings that showcase the value of advertising within our unique brand of feel-good content and reinforce our presence as a leading destination in the cable landscape.”

Ross McCray, Founder and CEO of VideoAmp, added, “Our solution will enable Hallmark Media to further maximize the value of their inventory while providing their own clients with the insights and opportunities to optimize that benefit their bottom lines most effectively.”

Nielsen has ranked Hallmark Channel as one of highest rated cable networks. In third quarter 2023 Hallmark Chaneel averaged 724,000 prime time viewers, fifth highest overall. VideoAmp said Hallmark Channel posted the best cable TV network results for its holiday season of programming in the fourth quarter 2022 for households with persons 18 years and older — as well as being first among viewers 18-49 and 25-54, females 18-49, and females 25-54. (The rankings exclude broadcast, news, sports and kids’ networks.)

In October, the Allen Media Group owned The Weather Channel announced they had completed the 2023-24 upfront negotiations using VideoAmp as the negotiating currency. Also, in October, media agency group Dentsu announced they had made deals with seven media companies using a proprietary media allocation system with data from VideoAmp.

Despite all this activity with alternative measurement providers, not one programmer or ad agency has canceled their Nielsen subscription.

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