The creative heresy in audience measurement

Erwin Ephron
The ARF Media Model Committee, United States

Joseph C. Philport
The Traffic Audit Bureau for Media Measurement, United States


In the United States today all media are priced, bought and sold based on measures of persons exposed. These counts identify people who have had the “opportunity to see ads” carried by the medium, or an “OTS” for short.

For example, we buy TV to reach viewers with commercials, but we use pushed a button on a peoplemeter as our behavioral proxy; although we know pushed a button does not mean viewing. And it certainly doesn't mean viewing a commercial.

We don't measure persons who see ads because the practical techniques for doing this use ad recall which measures the strength of the creative as well as the medium, and providing memorable creative is not considered media's job (a point we will return to shortly with the ARF Media Model).1)