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February 16, 2012

Ad Execs Present New Tools for Cross-Platform Tracking
By Kaylee Hultgren

Robert Barocci, pres and CEO of the Advertising Research Foundation, put it bluntly: “What we don’t know about media use seems to outweigh what we do know. And that’s tragic.” At ANA, CIMM, 4A’s and ARF’s Cross-Platform Video Measurement Summit in NYC Wed, cable ad execs, buyers and agency folk concurred that to better understand the value of ads to consumers across platforms, a common language or measurement, i.e. “currency,” needs to be created, made scalable and embraced by all parties involved—buyers, sellers, media.

One new tool presented at the conference was TAXI (Trackable Asset Cross-Platform Identification), essentially a UPC code for media that tracks both content and advertising across platforms. Its goal is to identify entertainment and advertising assets across distribution platforms and establish standards for multi-channel asset tracking.

According to David Kohl, advertising sector leader at Ernst & Young, current tracking methods have not kept up with the amount of content available. And a consequence of poor tracking is significant waste in ad spend, due to a lack of comparability of metrics across channels. Funded by ANA and the 4A’s, the initiative aims to uncover new transactional asset data, make it available faster and then quantify what it means for the industry. Currently in the design and develop proof-of-concept stages, TAXI will see an industry roll out in fall 2012.

Tools such as TAXI are still considered “baby steps,” said Alan Wurtzel, president, research, NBC Universal, but they’re steps in the right direction. In an appeal for more advertisers to join the 2-year-old Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement, Wurtzel called on the industry to “crack this cross-platform code.” “We have to rethink the idea of video measurement,” he said. “It doesn't make sense in a media world so fundamentally different from past.”

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