While online publishers are facing layoffs and possible mergers, three major digital media companies have joined social video analytics provider Tubular Labs to form the Global Video Measurement Alliance (GVMA).
Vice, BuzzFeed and Group Nine will work directly with Tubular to create industry standards on video measurement and engagement that aim to prove ROI and reach for advertisers.
Allison Stern, co-founder and chief strategy officer of Tubular, told The Drum that both the buy- and sell-sides are calling for better measurement capabilities, a needed step toward monetization.
"The amazing thing about the recent news with publishers is nobody is questioning the audience. There's a huge audience there, and they obviously are creating content that people love and watch. The real question is around monetization, and measurement is a key piece of monetization. Content is there, audience is there, measurement is not, and without the measurement, these companies can't build successful and sustainable businesses," said Stern.
BuzzFeed and fellow online publisher Huffington Post recently went through a round of layoffs, and there are talks of possible consolidation among major digital media players.
Still, audiences are engaging with digital content. The alliance aims to build on that foundation.
"Existing content measurement solutions do not adequately measure against the KPIs brands are interested in most. We all know the time spent engaging with content is proven to increase brand recall and lift but is still an afterthought,” said Josh Cogswell, president of digital at Vice.
Stern told The Drum that GMVA will largely focus on measurement in social channels, where publishers are "having a hard time proving" their audience. Though Tubular has yet to announce what metrics it will focus on or ad products it will deliver, Stern did say that one point of concern revolves around platforms having different definitions for what counts as a video view.
Edwin Wong, senior vice-president of research and insights at Buzzfeed, said: “Uniform cross-platform measurement is crucial to establishing the video ad unit economics required for digital media to thrive, and all publishers should be aligned and pushing for consistent standards in 2019 and beyond."
Group Nine's chief insights officer Ashish Patel said standardizing measurement is critical today as "audiences continue to shift to mobile" and digital video advertising continues to grow.