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Madison Avenue joins the quest to open the black box of viewership data.

Illustration by Kate Walker

Madison Avenue joins the quest to open the black box of viewership data



The Future. Madison Avenue and Hollywood are teaming up to certify the results of new audience-measurement systems. The hope is to finally create a baseline for viewership metrics, especially for streaming. With the venture likely to drag the data into the daylight, Hollywood unions may be taking the gas off of viewership transparency as a key demand in upcoming contract negotiations that could potentially put the whole entertainment industry at a standstill.

Count the eyeballs
Top ad buyers, including Dentsu, GroupM, and Horizon Media, are partnering up with the US Joint Industry Committee, a consortium led by Fox, Paramount, NBCUniversal, TelevisaUnivision, Warner Bros. Discovery, and their jointly-owned OpenAP.

  • Their goal: create a minimum standard of quality that new audience-measuring techs like  Samba, ComScore, and iSpot need to meet to be accepted by the industry.
  • It also puts pressure on Nielsen to step up its game, which has been an ongoing battle for studios.
  • They’ll be graded on elements such as infrastructure, privacy, interoperability, and governance.

The hope is to roll out a new measurement ecosystem before 2024.

Waiting for the curtain to fall
After ten years of streaming chaos, the move to create a unified measurement ecosystem reflects just how badly both industries want some semblance of data transparency. Everyone wants to know what is objectively a hit.

So, relying on the limited or cherry-picked viewership numbers that Netflix, Hulu, and all the streamers offer just no longer makes sense when they’re all launching ad-tiers. Accurate results are paramount.

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