Following the highly interesting Future of Media event two weeks ago, I would like to share my perspective on the future of media. In particular, the future of media measurement, given this theme’s prominence in the event’s debates, and of course, the fact that we are an audience measurement company.

First, let’s look at how media is changing and what remains constant before addressing how measurement should change to adapt.

Changing media

The TV/AV media landscape is constantly evolving and shows no sign of settling down any time soon. There have been many articles and studies (one of them our linear TV and streaming study) about the pressures on linear TV and how streaming services have evolved to counter the online drift of audiences and thus capture consumers’ attention there. For traditional TV broadcasters, this has successfully been done in their own BVOD environments.

The non-broadcast AV landscape certainly isn’t sitting still, either. The newest pitch in town is arguably the one from Netflix, actively pushing its soon-to-launch ad-supported service, and in December, Disney+’s ad-supported service will follow. We have recently heard about Amazon’s launch of the ad-supported free service Freevee, while Paramount has launched a significant online platform. And finally, Warner/Discovery has become a formidable new entity, especially with the announced BT Sports joint venture.

Additionally, digital-first platforms like Meta and Google continue to push hugely scaled video products, and TikTok’s ascendancy is relentless. Simultaneously, new and interesting gaming-related platforms are emerging with real opportunities to engage with the very consumers who are migrating from linear TV faster than they can hammer a ‘jump’ button on an Xbox controller!

However, whilst all this is great for consumers – offering more affordable access to even more content – all of the above lacks a coherent and comparable audience measurement currency, which is crucial to understanding how to plan media investments across it all. Especially now, given the financial context affecting businesses and consumers alike.

So, how can measurement change and solve this? Well, the ‘constants’ are helpful because they can anchor the potential headspin to a purpose.


Firstly, TV is still huge and very effective! That is undeniable and also continues to be well documented. However, it is no longer the only option. We are starting to see a change in planning approaches with our clients, where pioneering media directors are looking at digital AV rather than TV first. They are demanding that audience measurement answers the question, “how much incremental value does TV add to my digital plan”, which is a massive turnaround in our experience. It is by no means the case for the majority, but it’s an emerging approach that may well gain traction.

Another constant we were reminded of at a Future of Media session is the classic John Wannamaker quote, “half the money I spend on advertising is wasted; the trouble is I don’t know which half”, which is now over 100 years old! However, it’s never been more relevant. With so many choices on where to communicate with consumers, the opportunity for missing the target and thus wasting budget is huge.

Changing measurement

Staying briefly in the past, it is worth noting that market research was invented (arguably in the early 20th century) to use statistical analysis to make sense of incomplete data sets, which should still be firmly at the core of today’s changing measurement solutions. Luckily, we also have massively advanced technology compared to the early measurement pioneers, so in AudienceProject’s approach, it is the fusion of panels, robust statistical practices and advanced computer learning techniques which drive our audience measurement solutions.

So, whilst understanding reach is now possible across most channels, it was clear in the debates at The Future of Media that there is no single ‘magic number’ that can help all marketers make the perfect media investments. Attention, brand safety, attribution and so on are all seen as important, plannable metrics too.

In our experience, marketers should initially focus on maximising efficient cross-channel reach as they will simply miss out on sales if they don’t ensure that all relevant consumers know about their product. But from there, they could beneficially experiment with the layering of other measurement signals, such as attention and attribution. This ‘hybrid’ analysis, on top of ground-breaking cross-media reach data, enables further fine-tuning of investments in order to engage the maximum relevant audience in the most effective way.

This is a truly exciting time as media measurement is already changing to meet the exacting demands of brands who need insights to harness the value inherent in the currently opaque and rapidly shifting new media landscape.

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