The original ambition for a fully-funded, 'traditional' JIC [Joint Industry Committee] route proved too rich for the majority of players in the digital space – hardly surprising in the current climate. We (JICIMS) have therefore had to step back from the original plan of a fully-funded, independent JIC route [to develop an industry standard for online advertising planning].
However, there remains total enthusiasm and support for delivery of a consistent planning/measurement currency from agencies, advertisers and media owners. We just need a route commensurate with the current climate and with the flexibility to develop with the market.
We believe we have that route, but it won't be a pure JIC and as such difficult for the IPA [Institute of Practitioners in Advertising] and ISBA [Incorporate Society of British Advertisers] to wholly and unconditionally support.
The bottom line is simple – we have defined the objectives and clear tech spec for the product already and this is agreed. These were set out in our final product scope document, quoted below:
Online is unique in its ability to provide log file based data providing a census measurement of how many times a page is served. This measure has served the industry well, it underpins the buying process and JICWEBS standards allow user confidence in the comparability of individual site data.
So, why is there a need for JICIMS planning data? Although immensely comprehensive in terms of measuring 'how many?', these site-centric data do not provide answers to questions like 'who are these people?, 'how are they using online in total?' and 'how does this behaviour compare to their other media usage?' Answers to questions like these are vital to the planning of both online and multimedia campaigns.
JICIMS has been set up to answer such questions. Of course, private, syndicated systems already exist in the marketplace to provide these types of data. However, these systems are potentially detrimental to the online advertising market because they supply competitive datasets over which the industry has little control.
The vision of JICIMS is to provide one set of information which can be owned, managed and developed in line with an agenda agreed by all of the online medium's key stakeholders, thereby enabling online to realize the commercial opportunities it offers as a mainstream communications medium.
The industry has asked for a single, unified source of online audience measurement. Without the clarity of this unity, there is a danger that all stakeholders will not be capable of enjoying the real economic potential that the medium now offers.
But this can be delivered in a different (and more economic) way than via the pure JIC route.
We are committed to delivering all of the benefits and added-value to the market originally envisaged. To that end, we very much hope that IPA and ISBA will remain involved and supported, perhaps more from a governance and guidance perspective, for which they have already indicated an enthusiasm and willingness.
So there is nothing negative in this news, beyond the well-reported economic gloom of the whole market, rather a very positive determination to deliver to the whole digital industry the valuable, needed planning currency that was our target right from the start.