Total Content Ratings, or TCR, does not measure viewership of commercials. TCR is essentially a version of existing program ratings, souped up to include the elusive viewing taking place outside traditional TV schedules and screens.
“It has nothing to do with the ad model,” said Megan Clarken, president-product leadership, Nielsen. Rather it is a tool for networks to tell a comprehensive story to advertisers, providing both networks and agencies more transparency, she said.
However, top agency executives are more interested in getting to a cross-platform rating of commercial impressions than Nielsen’s push for all-encompassing program ratings. “How ad loads play in each environment is an important question,” said John Swift, CEO North American investment, Omnicom Media Group. “How do you value audiences on different screens? We have to figure out how much advertising is worth in different environments.”
That’s where GroupM, the largest buyer of TV commercial time, comes in. The media agency is developing a commercial measurement methodology that promises to quantify ad viewership across all platforms and devices. GroupM’s proposed methodology measures commercial viewership within long-form TV content across platforms over seven days, so long as the commercials remain consistent.
It remains to be seen if GroupM’s proposal will become the new standard currency. That’s if the industry opts for a new single currency at all. That’s an increasingly lively question as networks and advertisers talk more about about driving outcomes and measuring ROI, as opposed to looking only at ratings.