Premium Video and Measurement: Common Sense Should Prevail
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James Rothwell
By James Rothwell,
VP, Global Agency, Brand & Industry Relations

On the eve of dmexco, where global business leaders come together to talk about the digital marketing economy, TV and its evolving digital identity will continue to be at the epicenter of the conversation. How the industry adapts to a world of fragmentation and on-demand content continues to create innovation and frustration in equal measures.

At a global level, premium video continues to be one of the beacons of light in the digital marketing industry, where transparency and engagement flourish in stark contrast to the murkier world of audience-only or long tail buying models.

When the FreeWheel Council for Premium Video released The Unrivaled Value of Premium Video, we demonstrated the innately viewable nature of premium video, and its unique ability to deliver valuable audiences at scale, in a high-quality and safe context.

John Alleva Quote

Premium video is experiencing incredibly fast growth across viewable, fraud-free, advertiser friendly environments and advertisers are increasingly relying on video to tell their brand stories, but marketing budgets have yet to fully follow the premium content and its audiences.

The Measurement Challenge

Measurement and currencies have not caught up to the fragmented viewership of TV and other premium video. This makes it impossible for buyers to easily measure viewership and, in turn, ROI across all screens, enabling them to assess the impact of individual channels and the total buy via a cross-screen common metric.

This is especially frustrating for everyone in the premium value chain, as common sense dictates that premium video delivers the same quality of audiences and advertising environments that buyers have been used to with linear TV for decades, while also meeting and exceeding other established digital industry standards.

The long tail of the internet has created new measurement challenges that linear television never had to endure. All digital media is now judged on a baseline of verification point metrics around actual delivery (was it a real human on a viewable screen?) to cater to the lowest common denominator.

Premium video is inherently viewable and free of fraud due to the nature of the content format (full-screen/full-episode player, often authenticated) and distribution points (Over The Top, Set Top Box VOD, etc.). However, with some of the delivery point metrics unable to be tracked within these premium environments, digital buyers now have the challenging choice of ignoring some of the highest quality ad opportunities, or to take a more flexible approach to measurement and apply the most suitable metric per environment.

Engagement versus Verification

For premium video the focus for measurement should be engagement metrics and maximizing business outcomes. While the Media Ratings Council viewable requirement represented forward motion, it doesn’t address what matters most to brands: consumer engagement with content and advertising.

Measurement models need to enable advertisers to understand the value of associating premium video brands with highly engaging content, and buyers and sellers need to work together to establish metrics that work for both sides. Trust and partnership will go a long way to bridging the current gaps.

Pooja Midha Quote

The Case for Common Sense & Collaboration

By addressing the measurement challenge as an industry, and applying common sense to metrics that match the dynamics of the environment, marketers will be able to fully capture the true value of delivering advertising messages to scaled, engaged audiences on a variety of screens that mirror the linear TV experience.

Digital media promises so much for the brand advertiser, the premium publisher, and ultimately the consumer. Finding collaborative ways to plan, execute and measure holistically paves the way for an ecosystem built on more efficient transactions, better business outcomes for advertisers, and growth of the entire ecosystem.

For those at dmexco this week, please visit us at the FreeWheel stand (Hall 7 / F065) to continue the conversation, or reach out to


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