Sunni Boot’s Vision for AAM: ‘Measurement is Measurement. Auditing is Accountability’

Sunni Boot

For 98 years, the Audit Bureau of Circulations has spearheaded audited media measurement. As I begin my tenure as board chairman, I believe ABC’s transparent, tripartite nature, investment and expertise in multimedia auditing, and continued feedback from members will guide and strengthen the organization through the years to come.

We are in a time of great technological and social change. This change affects everything—how people live, how governments interact with their constituencies, how we transact business. In the media buying and selling process, audience and metrics are often claimed, but these numbers come from different sources. It’s difficult to distinguish what is accurate, and buyers are reluctant to place dollars. As we look forward, there will be even more competition from current and new measurement companies.

But measurement is measurement. Auditing is accountability. Auditing proves someone has independently verified the numbers that publishers claim and buyers buy. Historically, when there’s confidence in the numbers, investment follows. There is a real need to have an unaligned, transparent organization like ABC that brings confidence to agreed-to metrics and investment to this evolving digital environment. And there are a few characteristics unique to ABC that will bring the confidence and investment in the coming years.

First, ABC’s tripartite nature is a tremendous asset. Publishers, advertisers and agencies work together to establish the currency by which we trade. Our tripartite membership establishes what we’re going to measure, how we’re going to measure it, and what its value will be. It gives ABC the credibility that few measurement organizations have. It creates a level playing field at a time when audience and metrics are often claimed from various unverified sources.

Multimedia reporting has built momentum over the past few years and will continue to do so. The Consolidated Media Report is a perfect example of ABC’s evolution. Newspapers and magazines report metrics from apps, text alerts, social media, digital editions and e-newsletters alongside their traditional print circulation. Widespread adoption of the CMR is crucial for our industry, and this flexible report can develop alongside publishing brands.

Digital auditing is also a major focus. ABC continues to invest in ABC Interactive to ensure that the industry has proof of performance through any channel. With a persistent focus on digital, new digital auditing products and services will help meet our members’ needs in the ever-changing marketplace.

Perhaps most important to ABC’s progress is the continued feedback and support from our tripartite membership—our publishers, advertisers and agencies. By listening and responding to our members’ needs, ABC will remain firmly entrenched as the gold standard for measuring activity across content and platforms. If all parties remain committed to auditing and transparency, the investment will come.

ABC is incredibly valuable to our industry. There is nothing else like it. Many companies are into measurement. Not everybody is into auditing. I am proud to help lead an organization that is.

Sunni Boot is CEO of ZenithOptimedia Canada.

Hear ABC Board Chairman Boot and Canadian Board Committee Chairman Shelagh Stoneham share their overall goals for the ABC organization and its role in the industry in this video.

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