Online publishers sign accord on common audience measurement

By Abraham Baladad, abs-cbnNEWS.com

Posted at Feb 28 2011 07:17 PM | Updated as of Mar 01 2011 03:18 AM

MANILA, Philippines - The big players in the online media publishing industry in the Philippines on Monday signed a landmark agreement to use a common standard for measuring online audience measurement that is seen as setting the stage for the further development of media publishing on the Internet.

Executives from ABS-CBN Interactive, GMA New Media, Inquirer Interactive, BusinessWorld, Philippine Star, Summit Media/Philippine Entertainment Portal signed a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) selecting Effective Measure as their common provider of audience measurement analytics.

Connie Nolasco-Lopez, ABS-CBN Interactive (ABSI) Managing Director

Connie Nolasco-Lopez, ABS-CBN Interactive (ABSI) Managing Director, said that the tool will help boost the industry.

“Beyond simply counting impressions and page views, using the tool allows our advertisers to better measure their returns on their online marketing investments. The tool empowers our partners and with this, we hope to see further growth in the industry. Using the tool...not only can we further enhance our online audience engagement, we are also enabling our advertisers and partners to more intelligently reach and communicate with our audiences,” said the ABSI executive.

Nolasco-Lopez said that “the Internet is no longer 'new' media...With the growth of access and increasing amount of time people are spending online, the Internet is now considered as one of the platforms included in the traditional basket of media.”

She also cited the importance of developing the online media industry in the Philippines, especially for the millions of Filipinos overseas.

“The Internet allows us to reach and engage Filipinos not only in the Philippines but throughout the world, and in ABS-CBN, we have been engaging with our Kapamilya through the Internet for more than 10 years now through our various online channels such as abs-cbnnews.com, TFCNow and several others and even through social networks such as Twitter and Facebook,” said Nolasco-Lopez.

Aside from Nolasco-Lopez, those who signed the memorandum included Arnold Belleza, executive editor of BusinessWorld Publishing; Judd Gallares, GMA New Media president and chief operating officer; Paolo Prieto, Inquirer Interactive Inc. president; Roseanne Belmonte, Philstar.com chief operating officer, and Lisa Gokongwei-Cheng, Summit Media president.

GMA New Media’s Edna Belleza, who is one of the prime movers of the cooperative undertaking, said online publishers took 5 months in discussing and selecting Effective Measure, which was chosen over 2 other global audience measurement providers.

Data on every page viewed

Russell Conrad, Effective Measure regional director for Southeast Asia

Russell Conrad, Effective Measure regional director for Southeast Asia, explained that the “core tool is designed to provide advertisers, agencies, the publishers on how many people are online, and more importantly, the demographics of the people that are online.”

“We want to provide that information to the market, and information on every single site and every section of every site...That's really the first step and that is what we are going to do on the target by the end of April,” said Conrad.

Belleza said, however, that at the onset, everyone immediately agreed on having a common industry standard, and that their discussions focused on the process and criteria of selecting the solution provider.

Belleza said that an Effective Measure code will be embedded on the sites and pages of the publishers. Access to these pages will then be validated by the Effective Measure system.

By the end of April, the initial data will be unveiled. Regular monthly reports on the performance of the publishers’ sites will then be generated.

Historic

Other leaders of the online publishing industry present in the event, meanwhile, cited the cooperation as a landmark in the industry.

“This is also an historic occasion because all the competing industries are in one place... I'm very optimistic on the success of this cooperation,” said Atty. Felipe Gozon, GMA Network chief executive officer.

Kevin Belmonte, PhilStar Global Corp. president

“Today is a watershed, a milestone in the development of the Philippine digital space. With this, we can actually move forward and we expect great things to this partnership with Effective Measure...This will benefit ultimately and more importantly our audience, our viewers, our readers,” said Kevin Belmonte, PhilStar Global Corp. president.

Belmonte, in an interview after the signing ceremony, said the MOU will set the stage for the further enhancement of the online publishing.

“I think that this is an acknowledgment that this is the right thing to do...that all of us leading publishers here, friendly competitors I'd like to call ourselves, have embraced this and have done this together in unison...to move this industry, which is growing as I mentioned but has been overlooked in the past," he said.

"And so, this event where we're all, us friendly competitors who are in unison in supporting this major next step in our development, is a clear sign that this is the right thing to do and hopefully will benefit all of us, all stakeholders,” said Belmonte.

Sandy Prieto Romualdez, Philippine Daily Inquirer chief executive officer, and Vergel Santos, BusinessWorld editorial board chairman, also attended the event.

PDI chairman Marixi Prieto Rufino also witnessed the ceremony.

Conrad also lauded the cooperation of the Philippine online publishers and said that the company will support the effort.

When asked if the Australia-based company is in it for the long term, Conrad said: “Absolutely, this is the type of business where it takes time, it takes patience but if you don't have a management that has long term vision for it, then you shouldn't even try.”

Effective Measure had bagged a similar contract with a group of online publishers, advertising agencies, creative agencies and digital service providers n Malaysia in 2010. He said that company also has an ongoing effort in Indonesia as well as in Thailand.

“When we look at the global situation, there's a lot of countries that aren't being served properly by some of the leading measurement companies in the US or Europe, and really our focus is on helping those emerging markets to have proper standards. So our vision really is to support these markets for the long term,” Conrad said.

‘Apples to apples’

Hans Roxas-Chua, Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines president.

The head of a group of advertisers, meanwhile, lauded the agreement forged by the online publishers.

“As advertisers, we want to be able to compare different sites in terms of metrics and so on consistently, so It's like comparing data now – ‘apples to apples’ instead of ‘apples to oranges’. So when somebody who wants to buy their products online, they can now compare data across all publishers, said Hans Roxas-Chua, Internet and Mobile Marketing Association of the Philippines (IMMAP) president.

He said Effective Measure will provide a common dashboard which will also be accessible to advertisers where they can see the metrics generated from the sites and individual pages of the online publishers. This will make campaigns of advertisers become more effective.

“When you run an online ad campaign, you can actually collect demographic data, geographic data, how much time they spend on a site or a property - data that's more rich so you can turn around and use that data to do more targeted marketing and then hence have more effective marketing campaigns so that's one big difference between traditional media and when you go online - there's more analytics that you can rely on,” said Roxas-Chua.

With the common standards and the analytics data available both to publishers and advertises, The IMMAP head said that online publishers - big or even small players in the local industry – will now be pushed to further “innovate and compete."

He said some publishers may even choose to create their own niche in the Internet platform to attract viewers or readers.