The Media Rating Council (MRC), the non-profit body charged with enhancing audience measurement, is seeking consistency in viewable impressions for video ads, but is aware that emerging formats may require further changes in the future.

George Ivie, the MRC’s CEO/executive director, discussed this subject at the Advertising Research Foundation’s (ARF) 2019 AUDIENCExSCIENCE conference.

More specifically, he highlighted the first draft of a cross-platform standard issued by the MRC, complete with new – and controversial – guidelines for video advertising.

“The mantra of the standard really is consistency. This is phase one of a project focused on video – video of all derivations: linear TV, VOD, OTT, streaming video of all kinds, etc,” he said. (For more, read WARC’s in-depth report: As MRC moves to cross-platform standard, weighted video duration stirs controversy.)

Under the MRC’s proposed new standard, video ads would be judged against “duration-weighted viewable impressions”, with 30 seconds serving as a baseline.

That means a 30-second spot would receive 100% credit only if all 30 seconds were viewable and watched by a consumer. Similarly, a 15-second spot would have to be viewed for its entire length to receive 100% credit.

Such an approach, Ivie allowed, “might cause a rush toward more short-form advertising. Who knows? That could be valid. But we wanted to build equivalised units, so we thought we needed a standard base, a fixed base”.

But, he added, the MRC also understands “people are migrating wholesale to other ad formats, so we may have to think about changing” from the half-minute starting point.

“The marketplace is concerned that people will jump to duration-weighted viewable impressions as an outcome metric,” Ivie continued.

“When you duration-weight an impression, is the first five seconds half as valuable as the first ten seconds, which is not as valuable as 15 seconds? Is that a linear approach or is that a curved [approach where] value unfolds equally to time? That’s a heavily-debated concept.

“But you want to get the marketplace thinking about equivalised units of duration because of all the myriad of advertising that’s out there.

“How can we count it as an input into outcome metrics, not the outcome metrics themselves? We need to have some equivalised units to do that.”

Sourced from WARC