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WPP’s Kantar Video: ‘Gross Ratings Points’ Are For TV, Not Online Video

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After years of planning, WPP Group’s Kantar Video is releasing a video platform for marketers that will let them syndicate video and track it across all major and minor broadband sites. The open-source platform called Vidieolytics and its part of a years-long effort that predates WPP’s acquisition of TNS Media Intelligence, the company that was absorbed into Kantar, two years ago.

That effort was intended to find a way to measure video on its own terms and not simply try to fit old, TV-based models, on to broadband advertising, said Bill Lederer, Kantar Video’s CEO, in a demo of the platform.

“We don’t need gross ratings points for online video,” he said, referring to the TV measurement standard that merely how many households tuned into a program. The goal is not to count eyeballs, it’s to monitor where the video ads are being uploaded and watched on a real-time basis. “The relevant metric here is ‘effectiveness’ and ‘engagement.'”

Lederer acknowledged that those terms are tossed around a lot by media companies, but he was insistent that Kantar Video could prove it. The platform is pretty simple. Marketers, whether they’re WPP clients or not, can see how well their video ads are doing and can also target placement by various tags, including by site (YouTube, Veoh, and over a dozen more to start) or by demographic.

Marketers will also be able to track how their competitors are doing. For example, if Levi’s wanted to see who and how many people were watching Lee Jeans’ online videos, a few clicks on the Videolytics main page will get them there, as long as the content has received Kantar Video’s “fingerprint.”

While Kantar has pursued the idea of tracking online video for years, the timing feels more right now that online advertising dollars, along with the rest of the industry, have experienced a return to higher spending. Although online video was growing in the double digits even during the depths of the recession, it still was still fairly small.

But things appear to be changing this year. For one thing, online video’s high growth rate is translating into substantial amounts of money; this summer, eMarketer estimated that U.S. online video ad spend will rise 48.1 percent in 2010, to $1.5 billion. Kantar projects that number could be $10 billion in annual expenditures by 2015.

With online video approaching that level of spending, the already crowded video analytics space is likely to see a spate of measurements vying to become the “standard” over the next year