• George Ivie on the Media Rating Council

    You may not have heard about the Media Rating Council but that’s about to change because the Media Rating Council (“MRC”) is developing out of home measurement standards.  Insider interviewed MRC CEO George Ivie.

    George, what is the MRC?

    The MRC is a non-profit industry association established in 1963 at the recommendation of the U.S. Congress to foster valid, reliable and effective media measurement.  MRC is focused on developing and encouraging adoption of standards for media measurement as well as conducting audits of measurement organizations to verify compliance with standards.

    Faced with an increasingly complex media environment and changing consumer behavior, MRC has assumed a more proactive orientation towards standards setting across media types, fostering quality and promoting cross platform analytics.  MRC has set out of home measurement as one of its priorities for standards modernization, principally due to digitalization as well as new approaches for measurement that have been emerging in the business.  We want to incorporate these new methods into recognized practices.

    Who are the members of the MRC.

    The members of MRC, currently standing at nearly 160 organizations, includes leading domestic U.S. and international media brands, advertisers, advertising agencies and trade associations whose goal is to ensure measurement services that are valid, reliable and effective.  Equal access provisions in MRC’s membership structure allow organizations of all sizes that rely on the quality of media measurements to participate and have a voice in MRC standards and accreditation processes.

    Why should an out of home company care about the MRC?

    The media ratings council is developing out of home standards at the request of large advertisers.  We hope to complete our work on standards for out or home by mid 2019.  Then a company like Geopath can decide to have a third party audit to certify whether they conform to the standards.

    Auditing could extend to other vendors too, beyond Geopath, that derive and execute measurement processes for out of home.  New approaches such as the use of digital location data (MRC has already issued a separate standard on measuring location) or automated recognition technologies to measure traffic flow/levels would be good candidates for auditing.

    One key benefit is that the members of MRC gain access to confidential CPA audit reports of the services that measure and seek accreditation.  This enables users that rely on measurement data to understand the strengths and weaknesses of the services, essentially all aspects of the measurement process.  This is knowledge a media organization or agency or advertiser cannot obtain anywhere else.

    Is it true Google and Facebook are undergoing MRC accreditation?

    Yes, MRC has recently become involved in auditing of large digital platforms such as Facebook and Google.  These audits are targeted to include industry standard viewability measurement, sophisticated invalid traffic filtration, third-party audience measurement integration as well as brand safety.  Not all the platforms have agreed to be audited for all of these areas yet, but we are continuing to seek that agreement.  We are focused on enabling third-party measurement of these areas, not just the platforms measuring their own activity.

    MRC has obtained agreement for audits (of at least the viewability component) at Facebook, Google Youtube, SNAP and Twitter.  We continue to target Amazon, Linkedin, Pinterest and Walmart/Jet.com for these processes, but have not obtain formal agreement at this time.

    These audits are very significant to the industry, and they are generally are focused on areas that have never been examined by a third party such as MRC previously.

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