Watch Out Nielsen! CIMM Wants Open Format to Track Ads Across All Platforms

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) has announced “Project TAXI,” an initiative to create an open format that will track viewership of programming and advertising across both traditional and digital platforms. Project TAXI stands for “track-able asset cross-platform identifier.”

CIMM was founded by the big media companies and a number of top advertisers and ad buying firms to respond to what they saw as a failure of innovation in the TV metric space.

Nielsen has a de-facto monopoly on TV ratings, and has struggled to come up with a solution for tracking programs in the digital and mobile space.

CIMM is partnering with three of the country’s largest advertising bureaus, the IAB, the 4A’s and the ANA, on the project.

“Given the staggering increase in the volume of content available, it is harder and harder for media companies to track where and how often their assets are consumed — whether on TVs, PCs or mobile devices,” stated Jane Clarke, CIMM’s Managing Director in a statement.  “This project is intended to help companies understand how and where their content is being viewed, so that they can effectively ascribe value to distribution partners, advertisers and consumers.”

More information in the press release after the jump.





Coalition For Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) Leads Group Which Features The Association Of National Advertisers (ANA), The American Association Of Advertising Agencies (4A’s) And The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB)

New York, October 18, 2010 – Today, the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) announced the launch of an initiative to study the feasibility of an open standard to track and identify both entertainment content and advertisements across traditional as well as digital media platforms. The initiative called “Project: TAXI” (which stands for “track-able asset cross-platform identifier”) was designed in response to the growing difficulty that content rights holders and advertisers face in maximizing the value of assets. The Project is intended to cultivate transparency, simplify accountability and improve economic efficiency across the value chain.  CIMM has partnered with the ANA, the IAB, and the 4A’s on Project: TAXI.

“Given the staggering increase in the volume of content available, it is harder and harder for media companies to track where and how often their assets are consumed — whether on TVs, PCs or mobile devices,” stated Jane Clarke, CIMM’s Managing Director.  “This project is intended to help companies understand how and where their content is being viewed, so that they can effectively ascribe value to distribution partners, advertisers and consumers.”

“This study could dramatically improve the economics of advertising,” said Bob Liodice, CEO of the ANA, which represents the interests of marketers. “Ten or 15 years ago, the majority of advertisers could get exposure to a critical mass of consumers using broadcast television and the top 10 or 20 cable networks. Today, audiences are fragmented across a multitude of platforms. An identifier that tracks content and advertising at a granular level would help advertisers place their ads where it makes most sense.”

Sherrill Mane, SVP of Industry Services at the IAB, added, “The IAB is pleased to be a part of the first phase of developing an open system for identifying and tracking all manner of digital content. Through Project TAXI, we hope to learn how to best ensure that technology and data with wide ranging applications are created to benefit a multitude of industry players and solve for many issues we confront today. TAXI is particularly relevant to finding better measurement solutions.”

“Project: TAXI will be instructive for all of us. The results could grant media researchers access to a wealth of comparable usage data that will greatly enhance the insights they provide to our media and advertising agency constituents,” explained Mike Donahue, Executive Vice President of the 4A’s. “Agencies would be able to use analytics to better match content, advertising and consumers, which would more effectively drive brand awareness and affinity building. There are several asset identification schema in use around the marketplace, including Ad-ID, referring to the advertising identification system the 4A’s and ANA rolled out in 2003. Hopefully, TAXI will lead the industry to coalesce around one advertising asset identifier to reduce friction in the supply chain.”

CIMM has engaged Ernst & Young LLP as its lead advisor in connection with Project: TAXI. “The technical complexity required an advisor that has a deep understanding of the media and entertainment business, a strong connection to the industry and objective guidance,” stated Ms. Clarke. “Ernst & Young was the clear choice for this project because of their knowledge, experience and enthusiasm.”

“We are very pleased to be part of driving an initiative that has the potential to make such an impact across the industry,” said Ekta Singh, Ernst & Young LLP’s Advisory Partner designated to lead the firm’s work on Project: TAXI. “Creating a universal standard for content and advertising asset identification could have numerous benefits to media companies. There is tremendous opportunity to simplify underlying production, publishing, media planning and buying, distribution, licensing payments, digital rights management and many other functions.”

CIMM has asked Ernst & Young to meet with industry trade organizations and commercial entities involved in asset identification, tracking and measurement. Ernst & Young will conduct 30 to 40 one-on-one interviews and small group workshops with industry executives to obtain their points of view on the business, economic, technical and operational criteria that could allow the industry to create a uniform method to track media assets across television, broadband and mobile platforms. CIMM anticipates being in a position to evaluate results with its members in early 2011, and present its findings to the industry shortly thereafter.

About CIMM

The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM) was founded by several leading television content providers, media agencies and advertisers to promote innovation in audience measurement for television and cross-platform video. CIMM will explore and identify new methodologies and approaches to audience measurement through a series of pilot studies with independent measurement companies focusing on two key areas: the current and future potential of television measurement through set-top-box data, and new methods for cross-platform media measurement.

Current participants are: AT&T, Belo, CBS Corporation, Carat USA, Comcast Networks,  Discovery Communications, Gannett, GroupM, Hearst, Interpublic Group’s Mediabrands, Microsoft, NBC Universal, News Corporation, Omnicom Media Group, P&G, PepsiCo, ConAgra, Publicis Groupe, Time Warner, Unilever, Viacom and The Walt Disney Company.

About the ANA

Founded in 1910, the ANA (Association of National Advertisers) leads the marketing community by providing its members with insights, collaboration, and advocacy. ANA’s membership includes 400 companies with 9,000 brands that collectively spend over $250 billion in marketing communications and advertising. The ANA strives to communicate marketing best practices, lead industry initiatives, influence industry practices, manage industry affairs, and advance, promote, and protect all advertisers and marketers.

For more information, visit

About the 4A’s

The 4A’s is the national trade association of the advertising agency business. The 1,196 member agency offices it serves in the United States employ 65,000 people, offer a wide range of marketing communications services, and place 80 percent of all national advertising. The management-oriented association helps its members build their businesses, and acts as the industry’s spokesperson with government, media, and the public sector. For more information, visit our Web site at

About the IAB

The Interactive Advertising Bureau (IAB) is comprised of more than 460 leading media and technology companies who are responsible for selling 86% of online advertising in the United States. On behalf of its members, the IAB is dedicated to the growth of the interactive advertising marketplace, of interactive’s share of total marketing spend, and of its members’ share of total marketing spend. The IAB educates marketers, agencies, media companies and the wider business community about the value of interactive advertising. Working with its member companies, the IAB evaluates and recommends standards and practices and fields critical research on interactive advertising. Founded in 1996, the IAB is headquartered in New York City with a Public Policy office in Washington, D.C. For more information, please visit