bTV Media Group proposes concrete steps to rebuild trust in Audience Measurement System in Bulgaria
Enabling all stakeholders to own the data via a Joint Industry Committee and conducting a tender for the first time in Bulgaria are the first must-dos in the process
In response to the lack of trust in the audience measurement system as the official currency of the advertising industry in Bulgaria, bTV Media Group released an Industry Paper to all broadcasters, relevant associations, media agencies and advertisers in the country. Based on the best practices and examples from other European markets, the Industry Paper proposes concrete solutions and steps that would put an end to the unhealthy discussions over truthfulness and transparency of peoplemetric data.
Several months ago, after years of parallel existence of two audience measurement systems, the market finally switched to a single AMS provider – GARB - in May 2020. As positive a development as it was, GARB has never been selected or challenged in a tender, and currently does not provide measurement of all types of video content, across all possible channels and platforms – all indispensable in today’s digital environment. Moreover, questions and doubts from various stakeholders about the objectivity of the data provided by GARB followed.
As a first step to resolving the existing AMS issues, in the Paper bTV Media Group proposes the establishment of a Joint Industry Committee (JIC) of all market stakeholders. The JIC would own the data from the AMS and would guarantee a transparent relationship between the AMS provider and all stakeholders. Among the members, who would participate in the financing of the JIC and the AMS, would be all relevant broadcasters and associations. Stakeholders that prefer not to participate in the financing would be given the opportunity to acquire the peoplemeter data on a license basis and even have a consulting function in the Technical Committee, one of the JIC’s main bodies. The JIC would be managed by the Management Board, and a conflict mediation mechanism would be used in case of potential disputes among stakeholders.
The second necessary step would be to put the current AMS to tender, for the first time in Bulgaria, as the best form of an audit which is overdue. The tender would be organized by the JIC, and would prove whether GARB’s methodology is in line with the international best practices and guidelines. A tender brief, that corresponds to the current needs of the market, would cover consumption of all forms of video content (Total Video), all forms of content distribution (from TVs to digital apps), and all types of platforms (including social media).
The AMS selected in the tender would be subject to regular reviews. The AMS would not remain static and would constantly adapt to the evolving business needs of the advertising industry. The further development of the AMS would be a responsibility of the JIC.
“The current AMS has been in place for more than ten years. A system that old needs to be challenged in full and not only audited. Regular tenders after 3-5 years is an industry practice in all markets with an accepted AMS, including in countries from our region, where a strong Joint Industry Committee provides for a healthy and growing media and advertising market. I believe our Industry Paper comes at a good time to address all the doubts and questions regarding the inexplicable changes in viewership over the past year, and the relevance of the current system in the new digital reality. Now, more than ever in this post-crisis environment, we should help our advertising partners make the most reasonable and effective investment decisions based on transparent and reliable viewership data”, commented Florian Skala, CEO of bTV Media Group.