In Parts One through Five, participating companies answered a range of questions on their data from their business model to attributes to challenges in the industry. In Part Six we look at the future potential of the data with the goal of a workable industry standard. Is this possible in the short term or are we mired in competitive differences that will push any industry solution out into the long term?

My Take: I believe there is great interest in developing a standardize-able metric or series of metrics for cross platform measurement. But the challenge will be in deciding exactly which metric that will be. Some say delivery might be the best connector. Others have suggested reach and frequency. But one thing is clear to me: Until we can agree on the one metric that will tie all measureable platforms together, it will all be just branding and market positioning -- which only adds to the continued fragmentation in the space.

Question 6: What do you see as the future potential for your data to be used in creating a standardize-able measurement for the industry?

Joan FitzGerald, Senior Vice President, Television and Cross Media Service, comScore: comScore provides objective, third-party measurement across platforms -- wherever and whenever content or advertising is consumed. What’s important is that buyers and sellers agree up front to the metrics used to transact and those metrics must come from a neutral, consistent and reliable source. Xmedia provides the industry with the flexibility they want and need to plan and evaluate audiences across all screens.

Kelly Abcarian, Senior Vice President, Watch Product Architecture, Nielsen: Nielsen has always and will always provide a standardized, third party independent measurement that allows the marketplace to transact in a productive and orderly way. The main piece missing today from the future of Total Audience measurement is industry consensus about what metrics will be used to trade in a world that combines unit-based and impressions-based ad campaigns. Years ago, when the industry collectively agreed upon C3/C7, it didn’t envision the rapid evolution of digital content and the impact on the business in terms of monetizing audiences. Our Nielsen heritage has been built on helping to establish that currency.  In order to continue to meet the needs of our clients, we are encouraging the entire industry to work together again to redefine currency around the evolving media universe.

Cathy Hetzel, Rentrak Corporate President: Rentrak is being used today as the STB-based currency in television. Every day local stations, national networks, agencies and advertisers are using our ratings with advanced demographics to buy and sell advertising. We are integrated into agency buying systems, such as MediaOcean’s OX system, Strata and Imagine. We are driving many of the engines for programmatic buying and we will continue to work toward unduplicated reach for our cross platform offerings. We are the only massive- and passive-based television currency currently undergoing the process of MRC accreditation. We believe strongly that there will be a sample currency and a census currency in the marketplace for many years to come.

Leslie Wood, Nielsen Catalina Solutions: There are two places where I see that our work can be standardized. One is in the targeting realm. What we provide are buyer-graphic indexes. We apply those indexes to a Nielsen peoplemeter rating and are trying to find the likelihood a certain consumer will watch this program. That is our Buyergraphic Index which is fairly standardize-able. We’ve done a lot of work on the predictability of those numbers as it relates to demographics. On the other side is measurement and this is my core passion -- measuring the core effects of advertising. The current quality of measuring the effects of advertising is very uneven, particularly in television. This is an area that the industry should put enormous effort into. We have put in enormous effort but there are key pieces where we need to know that what we are measuring is valid. There is a long way to go there.

Bill Feininger, President, FourthWall Media: Set-top box data is now commonplace in measurement systems.  This will not only increase in use, but be pressed into service for dataset matching and targeted advertising.  FourthWall Media already aggregates data from almost two dozen MSOs and collects all the Charter Communications data, so in effect we are already a de facto standard.

Charles Buchwalter, President and CEO, Symphony Advanced Media: This is present potential for Symphony Advanced Media. Our VideoPulse product launched on September 1, and several companies are already using our data on a charter client basis as the primary source for tracking true cross media content and advertising exposure.

Eric Schmitt, Executive Vice President, Communications, TV and Media, Allant: The Allant Audience Interconnect® is software-and-data-as-a-service which has been purpose-built to standardize and scale advanced TV and premium video advertising.  Campaign measurement is a key piece of the platform and is uniquely powerful when coupled with support for custom audience segments and cross-platform industrywide execution.

Frank Foster, Senior Vice President, General Manager, TiVo Research and Analytics (TRA): For media to be deemed relevant, advertisers must have the insights that allow them to evaluate multiple platforms with the same metrics. To address that need, we’ve built what we believe is the largest cross-media single-source sample comprised of directly matched second-by-second tune-in data, online exposure and purchase data from more than two million homes. Since our data is 100% matched, while still meeting strict privacy standards, we can measure how effectively advertising drives consumer behavior from exposure to purchase without the uncertainty that comes with modeling or fusion.

Mainak Mazumdar, Chief Science Officer, Simulmedia: Simulmedia is not in the business of being a standardized currency or measurement platform. Our data is used by our platform to deliver audience-targeted TV advertising campaigns that drive an advertiser’s business outcomes and deliver the strongest return on investment for an advertiser’s TV budgets that is available in the marketplace today.

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 MediaVillage/MyersBizNet management or associated bloggers.