Content And The War Over Measurement

The Attention Economy And The War Over Measurement

Content that gets delivered digitally should be measured digitally. This sounds obvious, but it’s not that easy: Ad blockers, infinite scroll design and auto-load/auto-play videos all make it harder than ever to determine what has actually been viewed and what has successfully captured the consumer’s attention. We’re in a new era of content, with an ever-increasing amount of content created by more and more sources (professionals, amateurs and corporations). All of it is fighting for our attention. Ultimately, our “spend” of attention and engagement needs to be measurable, with a consistent and transparent methodology across multiple platforms. This should be a foundational core of today’s attention economy. More than ever, control belongs to the consumer, who is now armed with more diversity of choice, anytime/anywhere accessibility, a variety of pricing options and, yes, an ability to use tech to skip ads. But for content creators, publishers and advertisers, confusion reigns over how to determine who is viewing what, on which platforms and for how long. These questions lead directly to uncertainty about monetary value. We see this every time new technologies drive wide-scale shifts in media. Not everything happens at once, but whenever a new platform for content is enabled through technology, experimentation follows (both with content and with business models), leading eventually to a degree of standardization so that all the players — the content creators, advertisers and consumers — can communicate and do business together consistently. Take radio, for example: The first public broadcast via radio took place in 1910 , the first ad was broadcast in 1922 and Nielsen launched its first audience measurement index for radio in 1942. Television followed a similar, albeit compressed trajectory: The first regularly scheduled TV show began in 1928 , commercial licenses were granted in 1941 and Bulova aired the […]