April 22, 2016

comScore and Our Continued MRC Accreditation Momentum

Josh Chasin
Chief Research Officer

In January, after a long and constructive process, comScore announced that the Media Rating Council (MRC) had accredited Media Metrix, our flagship content audience measurement product, in the US. This was a significant development for both comScore and the digital ecosystem at large; Media Metrix is the first and only digital content ratings service to obtain MRC accreditation. We knew we were blazing new trails in building a bridge between traditional audience measurement methodologies and comScore’s innovative, inventive 21st-century methods and techniques—but working together with the MRC we established the credibility of new approaches to media measurement. That gives us confidence that comScore’s new model for measuring cross-platform audiences will similarly be acknowledged at a future point in time to be the appropriate methodology for cross-platform media measurement.  

Today we are announcing that the audience component of Validated Campaign Essentials (vCE)—our digital ad campaign ratings service-- has received MRC accreditation. Coupled with the earlier accreditation of the validation component of vCE, comScore is now the first and only company to provide an MRC-accredited Viewable GRP. These two major accreditations, in rapid succession, represent great momentum with respect to the audit and accreditation process, and we couldn’t be more excited.

As comScore’s Chief Research Officer, I wanted to take this opportunity to comment a little on what MRC accreditation means to us, and what our audit and accreditation roadmap looks like moving forward as we build on this momentum.

What Accreditation Means

To me, MRC accreditation is the industry Good Housekeeping “seal” that certifies and makes tangible our commitment to the values of transparency, disclosure, and operational excellence. In a very real way, accreditation substantiates the value of our measurement assets for both our customers and our investors.

While it is sometimes tempting to assign a disproportionate amount of credit for accreditation to those of us who work directly with the MRC staff and their auditor on a daily basis, in fact accreditation by the MRC (and certification by other audit bodies around the world) is not something a couple of people do. It requires a company-wide commitment, from the Chairman of the Board on down. You don’t earn accreditation by passing a written exam; you earn it—and keep it—with a culture, with an approach to doing business that imbues everything we do. Each and every person at comScore who touches any of these services (i.e. almost all of us) can take pride in these accomplishments.

The TV and Cross-Platform Accreditation Roadmap

comScore has been engaged with the MRC and their auditor on preparing for a new audit of what we call the “legacy Rentrak” TV offerings—Station View Essentials (SVE, the local market service) and Television Essentials (TVE, the national service).  The 2016 audits of SVE and TVE have not yet commenced but the pre-work is well underway, and the auditing should begin shortly.

On the digital side, our already accredited desktop Media Metrix service is a key component of Media Metrix Multi-Platform, which includes Video Metrix, Mobile Metrix, and our unique “engine” that de-duplicates audiences across these three offerings. Ultimately, we will be submitting all components of Multi-Platform for audit.

These digital measurement services and our TV measurement services roll up into comScore’s Cross-Platform Ratings, and naturally we will be pursuing a path to accreditation for that service in the future. The process of auditing the component parts (Media Metrix, TVE, SVE) is of course already well underway.

While the MRC is the “big dog” of audits and accreditations, we are also engaged in audits outside the US. comScore works with CIM in Mexico; with CESP in France; with AIMC in Spain; and with ABC in the UK. And we recently received certification from TAG (the Trustworthy Accountability Group) as a Digital Advertising Assurance Provider (DAAP).

The audit process isn’t easy, and I’d be lying if I said it was fun. But it is an essential part of the covenant we make with both customers and investors—that we are indeed committed to the values of transparency, disclosure, and operational excellence. And at the end of the road-- when an audit results in an accreditation—it makes all the hard work worthwhile.

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