|Australian advertisers are uniting in frustration at the diverse number of media measurement systems to form The Media Reference Group, designed to "bring media to account" and force easily comparable metrics for all media.
As reported in B&T, the group is being formed by the Australian Association of National Advertisers, with the intention of creating a tool that can compare all media with an "apples verses apples" method.
The AANA subcommittee will be made up of client-side buying experts, with representatives from all major advertising areas such as financial services, food advertisers, quick service restaurants, retail and automotive.
AANA chief executive Scott McClellan said some "enterprising advertisers" are already using their own rudimentary metrics to compare different media's figures with each other, and "pushing back upstream on the conditions on which they will buy, particularly in online".
McClellan added: "There is a sense of frustration with the growing number and variety of metrics and different platforms, especially in online, with each different platform having their own ways of measuring. It's become very difficult to do apples verses apples comparisons.
"You would have expected media to become more accountable. But the rapid introduction of new media has made it more difficult to compare and evaluate."
The AANA boss said advertisers were also frustrated with claims from all media that the level of consumption is stable, when media is fragmenting and new media platforms are developing.
"There are only a limited number of eyeballs. How can numbers be stable if the number of media is growing?" he said.
McClellan said fragmentation is putting media under audience pressure, using TV as an example. In terms of TV advertising "it used to take six weeks to reach the target audience now that is pushing out to 10 weeks. For premium inventory there is limited access so we are having to do so over a longer period of time, so rates are going up. All of this is starting to grate."
The new group's intentions could change the way media is bought: "What we are hoping to achieve is some agreed principles for indicating the criteria on which advertisers will buy going forward."
McClellan was unable to give details the on the new "tool" and how differing media's figures would be brought together, but he said: "It will be an AANA tool, and AANA members will be encouraged to use it".
The efforts of trade marketing bodies such as the Interactive Advertising Bureau or the Outdoor Media Association to increase effective measurement were welcomed by McClellan but he added a caveat: "Each of the industry associations has a vested interest in promoting its own medium. They have no particular interest in promoting cross media comparisons.
"There is the gut feeling that things aren't as they should be. This is an exercise in gathering information really."
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