Two hot topics swirling around in the media industry today -- cross platform measurement and programmatic buying -- were front and center at the ARF Measurement Mandate conference. Day one was a deep dive into programmatic and big data while day two covered cross platform measurement and ROI.

ARF President and CEO Gayle Fuguitt gave the industry a call-to-action. "We need the right insight with the right decision maker at the right time, she said. Fuguitt believes that “research needs to keep up with the consumers today. We need to go from media to audience targets, from black box to behavioral convergent data, from ‘post-diction’ to predictive and from silos to collaboration. We also need to fund measurement initiatives and experiments to scale and grow.”

See a short video of Fuguitt’s ideas and initiatives here.

TV Programmatic

I can easily understand why programmatic works in the digital realm. There is ample inventory of various levels of popularity and quality, the ads are easily placed dynamically and are measurable and posted against consumer segments. It is for these very reasons why I don’t see programmatic, under its current definition, being implemented in television any time soon.

But that doesn’t mean that a form of programmatic automation cannot be implemented in television ... and soon. Some believe that it will happen. AOL’s Bob Lord believes that “media, data and technology are the new palate that fuels brand experiences and creativity (which can come from anyone and anywhere).” “Convergence,” he says, “is a journey. Programmatic is the mechanism that integrates humans into the process.”

Rubicon’s Greg Raifman doesn’t even like to use the term programmatic. He says it "only captures part of it; the trading and execution.” Even the basis of programmatic -- to automate the selling of remnant inventory -- doesn’t resonate anymore with him.

Raifman explained that businesses that once started on the lower end eventually moved up in quality. “Nasdaq started automating with low cap stocks. Now you can trade any stock electronically. eBay started with a flea market environment like low cost Pez dispensers. Now eBay sells cars. Automation always starts on the lower end. Remnant or unsold advertising are now with private exchanges that are also selling mid-level inventory. One day we will even sell Super Bowl ads. The part that has grown the most is the part that has been automated the most.”

Adam Gerber of ABC seems to disagree. “To us, automation is not programmatic,” he said. “Programmatic is client data in real-time against inventory. It will not be 100% by 2020 as some predict. Big ideas such as sports are not programmable.”

Here is a short video showing a range of opinions on TV programmatic from attendees at the ARF.

Cross Platform Measurement

“We can now view TV on multiple screens,” Fuguitt said. “Our metrics have to keep up with the media.” There is a critical need for true, scalable and standardize-able cross platform measurement. But media measurement has always been and continues to be silo'ed by platforms and metrics.

We get stuck in “legacy systems and legacy thinking” according to CRE’s Richard Zackon, which holds us back from gaining progress in cross platform measurement.

According to Fuguitt, the measurement mandate can be built on our strength (MRC quality and historic TV measurement), grappling with our weaknesses (no centralized leadership, low innovation, lack of precision in mobile lacks precision and a low focus on advertisers), exploiting opportunities (maximize our industry leadership and invest in a cross platform measurement roadmap) and combating threats (inefficient dollar allocation, turf wars, privacy and fraud). Next steps should include “creating common GRPS that are measured across media, starting with video and then moving quickly to mobile.

“We also need to validate impression measurement and agreeing to common ROI effectiveness measurements,” Fuguitt added.

P&G’s Joan Lewis noted that we have "a measurement and leadership challenge as well as a growth challenge for dollars and business." How do we move forward? Lewis says that the “first step is developing common metrics -- understandable, comparable and recombine-able across all media types and devices with no black boxes. Then we must be able to explain it to people and have them understand it. The success metric has to be sales.”

What is the biggest challenge to implementing cross platform measurement? View a range of opinions from attendees in this short video.

Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com or at WeislerMedia@yahoo.com. Full disclosure: Charlene hosts a street art blog on The Starry Eye blog community

Read all Charlene's MediaBizBloggers commentaries at Media Insights Q&A.

Check us out on Facebook at MediaBizBloggers.com
Follow our Twitter updates at @MediaBizBlogger

The opinions and points of view expressed in this commentary are exclusively the views of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of MediaBizBloggers.com management or associated bloggers. MediaBizBloggers is an open thought leadership platform and readers may share their comments and opinions in response to all commentaries.