ARF Acquires CIMM and Creates a Measurement Powerhouse

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The ARF on Tuesday announced that it had acquired CIMM.  For researchers and data analysts, this is huge.  According to the press release, CIMM will become a subsidiary of the ARF and will focus on the advancement of media measurement.  The new division, which retains the CIMM name and logo, will be headed by current CIMM CEO and Managing Director Jane Clarke.  ARF President and CEO Scott McDonald (pictured above) spoke with MediaVillage about the acquisition and what lies ahead.

Charlene Weisler:  What was the reasoning behind acquiring CIMM?

Scott McDonald:  We think that the industry benefits from more consolidated focus on sorting out the challenges of cross-platform/cross-device measurement, better assessment of marketing and advertising ROI and attribution, and better ways of leveraging data for business insight and impact.

Weisler:  What does the ARF hope to accomplish by acquiring CIMM?  What can be done through CIMM that could not be done strictly through the ARF?

McDonald:  The ARF has always focused on addressing big-picture questions, using the discipline and objectivity of science to improve the practice of marketing and advertising.  CIMM has focused more on the development of practical tools and innovations.  By joining forces, the ARF gains its own innovation incubator -- akin in some ways to the way that the IAB Tech Lab enhanced the capabilities of the IAB.  Through closer coordination of efforts, we think we can accelerate progress on the big measurement challenges beyond what each organization might have done on its own.

Weisler:  Is there any overlap and if so how will it be handled?

McDonald:  The ARF is much broader in that it has many marketer companies -- ad tech companies, data companies and research companies -- none of whom were part of CIMM under its previous structure.  By coming into the ARF, CIMM becomes open to all of these broader constituencies.

Weisler:  What are the first initiatives for this acquisition?  What do you hope to accomplish in the first year?

McDonald:  CIMM will operate as a member-driven organization, so the first-year R&D priorities will be set by the Steering Committee -- which, as I said already, may be a bit broader now that CIMM membership is open to more companies.  Personally, I would hope to see significant expansion in the CIMM membership base during the first year.

Weisler:  What has the feedback been from the industry?

McDonald:  Feedback has been very enthusiastic.  I think there is a hunger out there for more consolidation and coordination, for more focused effort to solve methodological problems and to build industry-wide consensus.  This is a step in that direction.

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