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Magna Global boss: Audience measurement players must ‘up their game’ on TV and video

The man charged with overseeing $37bn in global media billings for IPG Mediabrands has warned audience measurement companies around the world they must “lift their game” on the issue of measuring audience across TV and online video devices.

In a video hangout with Mumbrella, Chris Williams, global president of Magna Global, the strategic global media unit of the advertising multinational, said: “It doesn’t make sense that people are watching less content full stop. With more devices they are probably watching more.

“But I think there is a real job in a lot of countries around the world where the measurement companies need to up their game.”

Williams said the lack of reliable cross media measurement internationally was impacting many media markets.

“They need to provide a measurement system that is robust,” he said. “One that allows us to function effectively because you need stability, and you need to have a faith and trust in the measurement systems for media markets to function in an optimal and effective way.”

Asked about this week’s Newfronts and the pitch of many digital players such as Yahoo, Maker, AOL and Youtube to move media spend from TV to digital Williams said they were seeing benefits, particularly with younger audiences.

“Of course we are looking at how we deploy our money effectively for clients,” he said.

“What we have seen from a media planning point of view particularly with the millennial and younger audience, is providing incremental reach to what we get on TV.

“There has been a lot of talk in the US where the TV market has been pretty soft and TV viewing has declined amongst all audiences and in particular younger audiences.”

His comments come as many markets debate the best way to measure the migration of consumers from terrestrial television to digital video formats such as SVOD and catch up services.

Last week in Australia, the major TV sales directors were at odds over whether online video streaming services should be included in an updated TV ratings measurement.

Focusing on the US Williams noted that he believed Nielsen’s measurement did not go far enough in capturing the shift to digital.

“We are seeing declines in the linear (TV) format but what is not being captured by Nielsen is the true picture of what is migrating to those different viewing opportunities,” said Williams.

“What we have seen if you look at TV viewing across a lot of countries over a 25 year period it is pretty constant. There is a constant level of viewing and it has just fragmented across channels and devices.”

For a timeline of the questions: 

  • 0.30 – A media buyer’s perspective on the Newfronts 
  • 2.30 – Allocating digital and TV spend
  • 4.30 – The digital industry maturing and ‘Razz-Matazz’
  • 5.18 – Williams reviews the Yahoo & AOL presentations
  • 6.00 – Shifting TV spend 
  • 8.00 – Cross media measurement and the need for better capturing of audience 

Note: This is part one of a two part interview. On Monday Mumbrella will feature Chris Williams discussing future trends in media. 

Nic Christensen in New York

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