"We need a real-time GRP and while Nielsen has been a bit more ahead of comScore in this aspect, no one has created a system to help publishers optimize in real-time or meaningful short time," said one publishing exec who works with both companies. "The industry wants 100% guaranteed GRPs. But without giving publishers tools to reduce the 50% waste that is not hitting the target, [the measurement tools] become dangerous to the ecosystem. It pushes CPMs down to a point that publishers cannot afford."
The publisher continued, "If you buy BlueKai and eXelate, you have zero waste. You don't run an ad against someone who is not in your audience target. That's where the friction is and we're going to be continuing to deal with this for the next two to three years."
From Nielsen's point of view, Clarken said the Experian partnership will help publishers do better than they have previously by providing OCR clients additional demographic information about who saw an advertising campaign. This includes income range, language spoken, presence of children in the household and other offline segments defined by Nielsen that will allow publishers to better calculate the effectiveness of their campaigns. The next goal is to bring this additional demographic information to Nielsen Cross-Platform Campaign Ratings and Nielsen Digital Program Ratings.
"You want the offline and online ecosystems to merge so we won't have this artificial separation of TV dollars and digital dollars," said Ran Harnevo, president of AOL Video. "You can find yourself watching a connected TV watching two different streams in the same minute; both are sold differently. It doesn't make sense. So [the work with Experian] represents a good, pragmatic move on the part of Nielsen. They're also extending OCR to mobile, which is critical. The main problem still left to deal with is that there is friction in the ad products. But that's expected since this is the early stage of the online/offline convergence process."
To some publishing execs, the battle to improve GRPs for an era of audience fragmentation is a losing one. Nielsen is trapped by history, said Jon Mandel, CEO of analytics firm PrecisionDemand and former former CEO of the defunct NielsenConnect unit.
"Nielsen is fighting the last war," Mandel said. " By definition, this data does not help anyone with the future; it is not actionable. Everybody else in the industry is dealing with predictive analysis. At the end of the day, Nielsen data, which is still largely based on panels, is not rich or segmented enough to make quick decisions, which is what is needed especially when it comes to digital."