NBCUniversal will use cross-platform data from iSpot.tv as an official advertising currency for national advertising, starting at its May upfront presentation of forthcoming programmes. There has been widespread concern from broadcasters that Nielsen ratings, which have long been the main metric for buyers and sellers of advertising, are under counting viewing. Nielsen is due to roll out a new measurement system by the end of the year.

At a presentation at Rockefeller Plaza in New York, NBCUniversal president and chief business officer Krishan Bhatia, said that iSpot will be the “new default measurement standard, delivering more speed, more accuracy and a true cross-platform view” of a brand’s total reach.

NBCUniversal announced a multi-year deal with iSpot in January and has been using its systems to measure audiences at the Winter Olympic Games and Super Bowl.

The Media Rating Council previously suspended accreditation for the Nielsen nation and local television measurement service, responding to industry concerns about the accuracy of its panels during the pandemic.

Nielsen is planning to roll out a new cross-platform system, Nielsen ONE, by the end of 2022, to become its primary source of ratings by 2024. It aims to provide reach and frequency metrics across platforms using a modernised panel, machine learning and identifier resolution to capture viewing wherever and however it is viewed.

“Time is running out. In 2024, the currency our industry uses today — the one our industry has used for decades — will completely disappear,” said Kelly Abcarian, the executive vice president of measurement and impact at NBCU Advertising and Partnerships. “We will all have to start over. So we are choosing to get started right now.”

While NBCUniversal has been embracing data from iSpot, Nielsen is likely to remain a key currency for measuring viewing. However, the new Nielsen ONE methodology will make historical comparisons difficult.