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Nielsen Leaders Share What’s Coming Next for Advertising—from Cannes Lions

3 minute read | July 2019

Once a year, the leaders from advertising agencies, global consumer brands, digital platforms and others across the media ecosystem gather in the south of France for the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Through panel discussions and interviews, the different media players explore what’s keeping marketers up at night, and what’s being done about it. 

During this year’s festival, Megan Clarken, Chief Commercial Officer, Nielsen Global Media, emphasized the importance of data and diversity. Additionally, she and other Nielsen executives were vocal throughout the week on where they think the advertising industry is heading, with key themes emerging around the expanding definition of TV, making addressable TV possible and the power of big data. 


The rise of digital video and the fragmentation of the media industry have left brands looking for consistent metrics and measurement of advertising across both digital and linear video. As a result, independent third-party measurement is becoming increasingly crucial to understand the effectiveness of advertising campaigns.

Digital Players & Platforms Want To Compete with TV 

Megan Clarken, Chief Commercial Officer, Nielsen Global Media: “What we actually see happening is that the digital-first players and the digital platforms for premium video have decided that all of the data that they have is just confusing the advertiser. So they want to compete against TV, and so they’re moving across to be able to compare to TV.”

Expanding Streaming Video On-Demand (SVOD) Content Ratings Across Platforms

Megan Clarken: “Everyday [the clients of SVOD players] want to know whether or not they’re getting what they paid for or what they’re being paid in terms of their content, and they want it to be done by a third-party independent player.”


While digital players are looking for measurement that makes them more comparable to TV, traditional TV entities are increasingly interested in the personalization digital presents. Therefore, addressable advertising—reaching individual households with customized TV ads similar to those in the digital space—has become top of mind for many marketers. Not surprisingly, measurement will play a key role for advertisers in this space globally.

Addressability Is Finally Here 

Vikram Somaya, Chief Data Officer, Nielsen: “I think there are finally real ways for programmers to bring addressability to television. A lot of the issues had been, certainly from the sell side, ’How did this actually work with measurement on which everything was transacted?’”

Nielsen Prepping Platform For Addressable TV, Ad Decisioning 

Kelly Abcarian, General Manager, Advanced Video Advertising, Nielsen: “First and foremost, measurement is the bedrock of what Nielsen provides to the marketplace and what we’ll continue to do. We’re really focused on how we unlock addressable in a way that brings standardization across all those impressions.”

Nielsen O’Grady Plans New UK Addressable Offering

Matt O’Grady, International Commercial Leader, Nielsen Global Media: “Nielsen is investing greatly in addressable. Addressable TV shows great promise. TV is going to be sold with addressable, over the top and data-driven linear TV. And we have solutions that we’re planning to roll out for all of them globally.” 


Digital has created more data than ever before, but not all data is the same. The quality of the data is incredibly important. For brands and advertisers eager to leverage new technology like machine learning and artificial intelligence, good data is necessary to create valuable insights. 

How Panels Improve Big Data 

Dave Hohman, EVP & Managing Director, Demand-side Media, Nielsen: “Panels at Nielsen are being used, and I think will continue to be used as a sort of a source of truth. When you’re looking at big data sets, they can have a lot of noise or bias in them, whether intentional or not.”

Machine Learning Speeds Up Action

Linda Dupree, CEO, Nielsen Catalina Solutions: “We’ve been working on machine learning and artificial intelligence for the last five years, with a lot of testing and rigor. And in the next few months, we’re adding machine learning to our targeting products, as well as to our measurement products.”