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Nielsen at Natpe 2020: How Nielsen’s Cross-platform Measurement Fuels Impressions-based Selling

Catherine Herkovic, EVP and Managing Director, Local Television, moderates a panel at NATPE

The way Americans watch TV is changing—and that includes local television. Viewers have more devices at their fingertips than ever before. The good news is that they’re watching more media than ever, but almost half of that time is being spent on digital devices. And as audiences move seamlessly across platforms, they increasingly expect brands and content providers to do the same. 

To address these changes, the local TV industry is moving quickly to make impressions-based transactions the standard for buying and selling advertising. Impressions provide uniform metrics that buyers and sellers can agree upon, such as a deeper set of programs to reach target audiences. And Nielsen’s Local solutions have expanded beyond linear TV ratings to include digital measurement for both ad campaigns and content.

During the 2020 National Association of Television Programming Executives (NATPE) Conference in Miami, Nielsen hosted a session called “How Nielsen’s Cross-Platform Measurement Fuels Impressions-Based Selling.” To kick off the session, Justin LaPorte, VP of Local Audience Insights, Nielsen, took the stage to share the latest insights on the importance of the local TV industry’s move to impressions.

“The use of digital devices has grown to almost half of people’s media time on a given day for adults 18 and older, according to Nielsen’s Total Audience Report,” said Justin. “The significance of using impressions is paramount within this media landscape. It is important to have impressions to aggregate across markets in linear and digital and truly look at the proportion of people in the market that are viewing.” Justin continued, “Beyond demos, we have to look at all of the parts that comprise key audiences for a buy including age, race, ethnicity, and presence of children, among other characteristics.”

So what do participants across the local television industry need to know about this shift toward impressions? Justin identified several key takeaways: 

  • Impressions can find hidden audiences and help buyers buy with more accuracy; 
  • They eliminate varying ratings when using different universes;
  • Impressions provide  easier comparison and aggregation across platforms; and
  • Impressions facilitate and enhance the benefits of automated buying.

Following Justin’s presentation, Catherine Herkovic, EVP and Managing Director, Local Television, moderated a panel featuring leaders across the local TV landscape. Panelists included Frank Friedman, VP Consumer Engagement, Scripps Networks; Jenifer Weldon, Owner/Media Planner, Fat Free Media; Scott Ehrlich, SVP Content & Strategy, Sinclair;  John McMorrow, VP/Director of Content & Consultative Services, COX Reps; and Martha Matthews, SVP, Group Director Local Activation at Dentsu Aegis Network (Carat).

The panel discussed how increasing fragmentation and expanding cross-platform offerings are accelerating the need for the use of impressions to give consistent metrics that buyers and sellers can agree upon.

Introducing the panel, Catherine noted: “There’s a movement within local television with the transition in buying and selling of Gross Ratings Points (GRPs) to impressions. We’re seeing this change gain momentum very quickly because of cross-platform comparability—so that local TV can be easily compared across mediums and also be able to aggregate audiences across platforms.” 

Catherine continued, “Impressions are gaining momentum in our industry. The ability to aggregate and not leave any audiences on the cutting room floor is essential. Within the fragmented media landscape that we are living in, it is essential to not miss any audiences and impressions will get us there.” 

For more, view the full session: