Nielsen and FreeWheel Expand Online Campaign Ratings Partnership

Aimed to spark OCR usage for video buyers

Nielsen has expanded its relationship with FreeWheel, as the video platform will aim to streamline the usage of Nielsen's Online Campaign Ratings (OCR) for their joint clients.

In a best-case scenario for Nielsen, the agreement will spur more digital advertisers to regularly employ OCR, which is designed to mirror traditional media's gross rating point (GRP). Theoretically, that will also make it easier for more traditional advertisers to move dollars online.

FreeWheel helps notable media companies like ABC, AOL, ESPN, Turner and Viacom manage video-based content and advertising. Starting in September, the San Mateo, Calif.-based tech firm will plug OCR into its media-planning system, while letting clients tag their online video ads and obtain Nielsen's metrics in terms of reach, frequency and demographics. 

OCR was built to make advertisers bigger believers in the Web by making it more translatable to TV. The Nielsen service includes campaign data updates every 24 hours, letting marketers see what audiences they are hitting. 

Marrying OCR to FreeWheel's workflow dashboard, in theory, should aid its brand clients' forecasting abilities and general efficiencies when it comes to digital video initiatives. FreeWheel signed a lightweight distribution deal with Nielsen 11 months ago before coming to an agreement where OCR is fully part of its product.

"With everything in the same workflow, it's going to be a huge time-saver," said Doug Knopper, FreeWheel CEO. "And as we are getting in the fall TV season, this will allow a seamless transfer of dollars to go from linear TV to the digital side and vice-versa."

Amit Seth, EVP of global media products at Nielsen, claimed it will ease the workflow for marketers using FreeWheel. "With a click of the button, you can get up and running on the campaign," he said. "And you don't have to go into a separate [user interface] to see how your performing."

New York-based Nielsen rolled out OCR in August 2011 after spending 12 months finalizing the product. Since the launch, it has signed a number of ad-tech partners in order to get brands on board.