ISBA sets itself a major challenge
ISBA made a significant announcement on Thursday regarding the evolution of cross media measurement.
The trade body for UK advertisers launched 'Origin' - the first national execution of the global principles set out by the World Federation of Advertisers (WFA) in October to challenge the status quo and improve the way investment is planned across all media. You can read the full story here.
It's a bold move to tackle a growing problem for advertisers, and has been broadly welcomed by the IPA and research specialists.
The programme is only in its infancy, so we'll need to see how it plays out. However, it does surface some immediate questions.
Firstly, the work involved is likely to be more than significant – anyone who has been watching the evolution of the JICs will have an understanding of how complex and hard quality media measurement is to do – and that complexity (a challenge in its own right) will be an expensive burden. Who will pay for it?
ISBA told Mediatel News that at this stage Origin will be "industry funded and syndicated across buy and sell side partners". As the programme develops ISBA said it will seek further support from the industry.
This whole area is where you can expect to get a nasty headache. If what Origin is providing is cross media ‘research’, that makes it hard to know how to persuade the sell side to pay for it.
Then we have the issue of bringing the challengers into the fold. Will ITV be content to fund the measurement of YouTube, which is openly trying to steal its audience and ad money?
For one thing, it certainly wouldn’t be comparing like for like. TV – as one of the highest performing mediums - could be short changed. Not all video views are equal and not all video environments are the same.
Additionally, TV already pays a fortune for BARB. Would it be asked to pay even more for this too?
Then we have the involvement of Facebook and Google (both named as partners in the global working group). Will they provide the 'pipes' for all this, as rumours suggest? If so, the industry will demand involvement of a proper, independent third-party measurement company – something that both Facebook and Google have been reluctant to accommodate in the past.
Finally, the industry has had TouchPoints in the UK for over 10 years now and it was expressly designed to allow for cross media, cross channel planning.
Has this been overlooked? Surely, in a bid to keep costs and complexity low, the industry should be coming together to build on the tools it already has rather than re-inventing the wheel.
Granted, TouchPoints is based on an annual questionnaire and what ISBA desires is an "always-on planning and reporting solution". But the foundations are, arguably, already there.
As an aside, it is interesting that all of this is happening as the measurement bodies in the UK all experience their own evolutions.
In the last few weeks alone we've heard calls from the publishing world to change their own systems, while in the audio world, agencies are now calling for changes to reflect the expansion of the radio market.
The problem is, the world of media moves fast – but effective measurement does not.