Accuracy,transparency & advance technology: Mantras for ABC Digital currency

The Audit Bureau of Circulation (ABC) has decided to move beyond its traditional role as circulation auditor and has ventured into the field of digital measurement services.

With digital being the fastest growing media platform, nearly all publishers have a presence on it now. As per a senior industry professional, publishers would have to pay an annual fee of Rs six lac to be measured by the new currency. This fee is lower than what the current digital measurement systems in the market charge.

While it would help getting a complete picture of publications whether they are being accessed online or offline, the new digital measurement currency would encompass all digital properties keen to get their numbers measured accurately. As per ABC, the new measurement system would be robust, accurate and transparent. As multiscreen digital consumption is increasing in India, the new currency would measure users’ digital behaviour on computers and handheld devices.

ABC would introduce the new digital currency in the market in two phases: Phase one will measure the total audiences and the Publisher content on both PC and mobile where viewing is done through app. Moving forward, Phase two will see ABC interlink itself with Facebook to get the accurate data on the users. It will also look into giving matrix of every single day.

To make sure that data is accurate and relevant, Nielsen has been entrusted with research responsibilities for the new currency. In its presentation Nielsen stated that local and global experts in the field of technology, data science and analytics will support the service. The presentation also mentioned that Nielsen and its partners would leverage the most advanced technology. Nielsen has acquired data management player Exelate and would be using its services for in-depth data analysis.

Prashant Singh, Managing Director, Nielsen takes pains to explain, “We are going for the corrective measurement and we are sure to provide accurate data. The big benefit is, this is the evolution for measurement and we are hoping to eliminate the need of the panel. Though, there would be panel for correction, but broadly it is going to become big data collection.”

The new measurement system would be a great help to the digital media agencies and digital agencies. ABC will also look into ensuring data security and to see that the data is not compromised. It will also look into ensuring sanctity of the entire board and will have a management team keeping a watchful eye on it.

Talking about the effectiveness of the new measurement system Shashi Sinha, CEO, IPG Mediabrands and new Chairman of Audit Bureau of Circulation for the year 2015-2016 expresses, “It is an industry body and we would make sure that industry benefits from the accuracy and transparency of data, and second advantage is that it would monitor and get the data of all digital platforms. What is more, there is always a need for a recognised body which can give correct data and that is why we have come up with this new measurement system.”

Industry gives the new currency a thumbs up: caught up with a few publishers to get their take on the ABC measurement on the side lines of its launch event. Here is what they had to say about it:
Madhukar Kamath, Group CEO and MD at DDB Mudra Group: “There has been matrix earlier as well. However, this one is an industry initiative which needs to be lauded and with time it will become better.”

Ashish Bhasin, Chairman & CEO South Asia, Dentsu Aegis Network, Chairman Posterscope and psLive - Asia Pacific: “I feel it is a good step to have digital measurement as it is the need of the hour, however there are a number of areas they have to look into. One of the main areas that is little unclear is how ABC would look into the programmatic issue. Having said that, we are hoping it will be a good step for the industry.”

Amit Mathew, Resident Editor & Director, Malayala Manorama:  “It is going to be very beneficial as it would monitor all the traffic online. This will help the publishers in better monetising.  As of now we are quite confident that it would benefit the industry.”

Sandip Tarkas, President (Customer Strategy) and CEO (Bengal Warriors), Future Group: “It is a win - win situation for both advertisers and publishers. We fully welcome this new measurement system and hope to see good changes in the industry. I believe large number of publishers would come on board. The biggest advantage is that the industry is supporting and welcoming it, as both mobile and desktop would come under its purview. Current measurement currencies leave room for betterment. Hence, the new currency would be helpful because it is led by corrective measurement.”

Davendra Darda, Managing Director, Lokmat Media Group: “It is the first step by the body in the digital measurement space and we are hopeful that it will provide accurate data. We are welcoming and supporting this initiative.”

Shantanu Bhanja, Chief Digital Officer, HT Media Group: “This new measurement makes sure that we have something well moderated which will meet the need of both publishers and advertisers. Hopefully over a period of time it will become stronger and stronger.”

Rakesh Sharma, Executive Director, Good Morning India Media Pvt. Ltd: “One of the biggest flipside would be the problem of monitoring it. The correct data and measurement is the most critical part of it. As of now it looks like it’s going in the right direction.”


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