ViacomCBS explores alternative currencies with VideoAmp

TV watching
Major content owners like ViacomCBS are looking at ad currency alternatives as Nielsen, a stalwart for TV audience measurement, is increasingly coming under scrutiny for its methodology. (Pinho/Unsplash)

ViacomCBS is partnering with software and data platform VideoAmp to build an alternative currency for planning, transacting and measuring national ad campaigns.

The programmer—which owns CBS, cable networks including Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, and ad-supported streaming services like Paramount+ and Pluto TV—will use VideoAmp’s TV viewership dataset to guarantee linear media transactions against age and gender demographics. It will also use VideoAmp’s data as an underlying currency to create and guarantee delivery of media campaigns against customized advanced audience segments through Vantage, ViacomCBS’ advanced advertising platform.

Vantage is a data-targeting platform that offers predictive modeling, continual optimization and insights for advertisers. The VideoAmp dataset combines set-top box and automated content recognition (ACR) data into a unified dataset to provide a deduplicated view of media delivery and advertising performance across traditional TV, streaming video and digital media.

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“We are thrilled to be partnering with ViacomCBS as an alternative currency as they go into a new broadcast season. We truly value ViacomCBS and their forward-thinking strategy when it comes to a new era of media transaction, measurement and, ultimately, the currency options that power it. We want to unlock value for publishers in a privacy-safe way that keeps their audiences at the forefront, regardless of the channel they’re using,” said VideoAmp CEO and Co-Founder Ross McCray in a statement.

“The measurement marketplace needs diversification. VideoAmp is an innovator who can help us accelerate our vision around the future of currency. We’re excited to leverage their platform to bring better insights and better measurement to advertisers and their agencies,” said John Halley, chief operating officer of advertising revenue at ViacomCBS, in a statement.

Major content owners like ViacomCBS are looking at ad currency alternatives as Nielsen, a stalwart for TV audience measurement, is increasingly coming under scrutiny for its methodology.

Earlier this month the MRC served Nielsen with two votes of no confidence and suspended its accreditation.

“While we are disappointed that the situation has come to this, we believe these are the proper actions for the MRC to take at this time,” said MRC CEO and executive director George Ivie in a statement. “MRC’s Board of Directors, which represents an extremely broad range of industry constituencies, and includes advertisers, agencies, and media companies of all types, is strongly unified in its positions on these matters.”

In August, Discovery CEO David Zaslav slammed Nielsen over its “antiquated system of measurement.

“You have Google and Facebook, you have these technology companies. They know exactly who’s watching, they know exactly who they are, what they’re buying, what they want to read,” he said during a MoffettNathanson investor conference. “And we’re dealing with this antiquated system of measurement that advertisers love because they can rely on something that fundamentally undercounts all of us. As great as our industry is, we haven’t been able to get Nielsen to get their act together.”