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BizReport : Advertising : July 12, 2007

IAB to standardize online video audience measurement

As Nielsen//NetRatings announce their new web audience tracking metrics the Internet Advertising Bureau seeks to address the standardization of reporting the size of online video audiences.

by Helen Leggatt

TV networks are increasingly bundling television ad packages together with online elements and efforts are underway to ensure audience measurement is consistent across all networks.

Some networks report their audience figures by number of streams viewed, some by number of episode or show starts. The two sets of figures are disparate. A single episode can be cut up in to several streams, depending on the number of adverts inserted, whereas an episode or show start more accurately reflects the actual viewer figures.

"If you report streams, you end up being able to game the system, meaning I can create gains or losses at will, simply by cutting a show into more pieces," said Jack Wakshlag, chief research officer for Turner Broadcasting, via TVWeek.

For instance, ABC began by reporting the number of streams viewed on and now records both streams and episode starts. Since late last year has recorded over 500 million streams yet the episode start count was around 120 million. It's easy to see why there is confusion in the industry.

Online video is expected to reach $1.31 billion in ad revenue this year and is set to rise. It is therefore imperative that the IAB puts guidelines in place sooner rather than later.

"The industry would benefit from standardization in terms of reporting because it's harder to move forward when there is confusion," said Tracey Scheppach, senior VP and video innovation director at media-buying agency Starcom USA.

Tags: audience, IAB, metrics, online video

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