IAB finalises shortlist for online audience measurement tender

Screen Shot 2014-07-15 at 12.24.01 PMThree bidders will line up to challenge incumbent Nielsen on the Interactive Advertising Bureau’s (IAB) tender for the contract for online audience measurement, Mumbrella can reveal.

The IAB has shortlisted ComScore, GFK, Nielsen and Roy Morgan to move to the next stage of the tender process which sees four companies present to a technical review group chaired by Ian Muir, former CEO of Oztam and veteran of media audience measurement.

Mumbrella understands that at least two of the companies on the shortlist have put together consortium bids with GFK joining with Aztec Research and Comscore joining with IPSOS in a bid to secure preferred provider of online audience measurement, which gives the successful audience measurement company approval to be the currency for the sale of online data in Australia.

The consortium bids come after a concerted effort by the IAB to encourage collaborative tenders from various parties.

IAB CEO Alice Manners earlier this year said: “I will be encouraging as many people as possible to submit in that tender process, even if they can’t look at it holistically, and it is several companies coming together to look at an area of it.”

After the presentation stage which will occur in early August, the final stage will see technical and commercial assessments ahead of a final announcement.

Incumbent Nielsen has held the audience measurement contract to be the IAB approved metric, which is worth millions of dollars, since 2011 with the contract being renewed without a tender in 2013.

Key to this year’s tender is thought to be a better provision of mobile measurement Nielsen has been subject to criticism from some corners of the industry for errors and discrepancies with both the online and video numbers, and has also been accused of not reflecting the growth that some publishers, such as The Guardian, claim they are seeing in their internal metrics.

Last month Nielsen released its first insight into the size of the Australian mobile and tablet market with a dedicated mobile panel being created in conjunction with the IAB.

It has also dramatically overhauled its systems and methodology, implementing a new data processing platform and also make significant revisions to the rules on its 7,000 panelists who are part of its hybrid measurement system.

Earlier this year GroupM’s chief investment and intelligence officer Danny Bass, who is also head of IAB’s Agency Advisory Board, said the decision on the contract would be one of the most important decisions the industry would make in the next decade.

“Four years ago it was a big thing but this time around it could be the most important decision that we as an industry take over the next ten years,” said Bass.

“We need to make sure the agencies have a strong voice in that tender because a lot of us are already working with Nielsen or ComScore.”

All of the parties involved in the tender contacted by Mumbrella declined to comment citing confidentially.

Nic Christensen

Update 10.00am – The IAB has released a media release confirming the shortlist:

Comscore, GfK, Nielsen and Roy Morgan Research have been named as IAB Australia’s short list for its digital audience measurement tender process which is currently underway. The companies will now present to a specialist technical review group chaired by industry veteran, Ian Muir. After the presentation which will take place in early August, IAB will conduct a final technical and commercial evaluation before announcing the successful vendor later this year.

IAB Australia issued its call for submissions for a three year preferred supplier agreement to provide a digital audience measurement solution that encompasses desktop, laptop, smartphone and tablet devices and covers of all forms of digital content including video and audio in Australia in April 2014. Twenty-three companies submitted expressions of interest. The current supplier is Nielsen, who won the first preferred supplier agreement in 2011.

IAB Australia CEO, Alice Manners, said “We are delighted to have received so much interest in this tender from both local and overseas organisations. Australia has always been a global leader in innovative audience measurement thinking and implementation, and the quality of the proposals that we have received will help us remain in this position. We look forward to making an announcement later in the year on the winning vendor and more details about the products, methodology and roll out.”

Ian Muir commented “The process to date has been extremely smooth, and the level of engagement and effort on the part of the suppliers is to be commended, particularly given the expectations we have of the suppliers exceeds those of other leading markets.”

IAB Australia’s objective with the appointment of a preferred supplier or suppliers for the provision of digital audience measurement services is to ensure constantly evolving and accurate audience measurement in the Australia to support confidence and investment in digital advertising.


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