DS Simon's move to unify VNR world meets 'disdain'

NEW YORK: A move by top-five VNR firm DS Simon Productions to unite

the industry behind a unified audience measurement system is dividing

the industry.

First mooted in March, a press release last week announcing an 18-firm

agreement in VNR audience measurement has instead caused upset in the

tumultuous world of video PR.

DS Simon spent dollars 50,000 on an audience measurement standardization

ad campaign, and the 18 firms have agreed to show clients their

methodology for determining audience numbers when Nielsen Media Research

does not report a viewing audience. The companies, mostly smaller shops,

also pledged not to cite a potential viewing audience as actual viewing


However, the heads of the other top-five VNR firms - MediaLink, News

Broadcast Network (NBN), KEF Media and On The Scene Productions (OTSP) -

unanimously disapproved of the new agreement.

Larry Moskowitz, president of MediaLink, called the agreement "pathetic"

and said signing it would set MediaLink standards back ten years. Mike

Hill, president of NBN, signed the agreement, but said he did so in fear

of negative implications had he not signed. Jeff Wurtz, NBN's SVP of

sales and marketing, called the decision whether to sign the agreement

"a no-win situation."

Sally Jewett, president of OTSP, did not sign. She said her peers were

more interested in her idea of an industry council, not the DS Simon


"I thought we were getting somewhere with the independent council idea

late last week," said Jewett. "Then Doug (Simon, president/CEO of DS

Simon) said he wasn't going to do that and issued his own press


Simon said he didn't understand why his "important effort" was being met

with disdain. "This effort has helped bring the issue of audience

reporting out into the open," he said. "Some groups think it is a bad

idea, which is hard for me to understand. However, as this continues to

evolve and grow, I remain very excited about it."

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