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Rival Research Firms Form Their Own Supergroup

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When you think of famous music supergroups, names like Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young, or Emerson, Lake & Palmer come to mind. Now research firms have their own supergroup and it counts Nielsen, comScore, Rentrak, TiVo (s tivo), and TNS Media Research among its members, reports MediaPost. Thankfully these firms aren’t cutting an album, but instead are banding together to help better define the value and usefulness of viewer data generated by set-top boxes.

The group met yesterday and agreed to share data, insights and technical support. Pat Liguori, senior vice president of research & electronic measurement for the ABC Owned Television Stations Group, participated in the meeting and told MediaPost:

[i]t was important for the TV research industry to develop a consensus approach, and to precisely define what it hopes to develop from digital set-top data, to avoid, “what happened with Web measurement,” which she said is “all over the place” and has “all these different services doing different things all with mystery algorithms. It would be very unfortunate if we do that wit the set-top box.”

First, the group needs to get digital set-top data companies on board and figure out which data to ask for. Additionally the researchers also need to establish common definitions for terms such as “latency” and “dwell time.”

It’s interesting to note that Google (s GOOG) is not listed as a participant in these discussions. One if its big pitches to advertisers for its Google TV Ads service is the ability to refine campaigns based on data from set-top boxes.

I like TV by the Numbers’ humorous take on this Traveling Wilburys-esque gathering of researchers: “Of course, unwritten in all this is the obvious conspiracy that your favorite shows, but only those shows, will continue to be undercounted. “