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JICIMS structure change to move forward

AOP and IAB to spearhead joint initiative

Following a meeting of its board, the Joint Industry Committee for Internet Measurement Systems (JICIMS), has announced that it will be revising its structure in order to make progress in the establishment of an online audience measurement system. The initiative will now be led by AOP and the IAB, and is the result of extensive cross-industry consultation on the best solution for the current lack of a standard online planning system.

The move follows an official Summit, held by the JICIMS Board on 15 October 2008, which was called to assess industry support for the development of an audience measurement system for online.

Attended by 84 delegates comprising UK agencies, media owners and advertisers, the majority agreed on the need for a unified single currency which would help accelerate advertiser usage and grow the medium and charged the key stakeholders – AOP, IAB, IPA and ISBA – to gauge the feasibility of a full-funded Joint industry committee (JIC).

After having pursued and clarified all possibilities, JICIMS’ original stakeholders – AOP, IAB, IPA and ISBA – have now confirmed that they are unable to commit to the level of three year funding that a full JIC model would require. Factors present in this decision were the exceptional pace of technological and structural change within the online industry, as well as the current economic environment.

However, the JICIMS Technical Group has agreed on the broad specification and design for an audience planning system and further options will now be explored including the possibility of a partnership arrangement with an existing supplier.

A New Structure

Furthermore, the JICIMS group will now be moving forward in a new format. As the full JIC is no longer an option, the IPA and ISBA have subsequently resigned as JICIMS shareholders. They may, however, remain involved in advisory and governance roles as the media owner-led company evolves into a new legal structure.

JICIMS Ltd will therefore be renamed ready to continue with the process of moving to a unified online planning currency in the New Year. Both the AOP and IAB have expressed a desire that this new company evolves into a full JIC in the future, when the economic climate can fully support this totally independent approach.

Mark Cranmer, chairman of JICIMS said: “'We've covered a lot of ground in the last few months. We now have alignment, agreement and unity from all stakeholder groups over an audience measurement planning system, especially one that expands display advertising from branded products."

We have also reached agreement that funding this requirement within the conventional company structure of an industry 'JIC' will not be possible at this stage of the business cycle. Consequently, the company will now be restructured to continue in the pursuit of delivering to the industry a solution that all parties desire. This clarity and the speed with which we have achieved this is a positive development for the industry, and we intend to finally make things happen in 2009.”

"The right data in the right way"

Peter Bowman, General Manager of JICIMS said: “I’m now optimistic about our future. There have been mighty obstacles involving funding and structure, but we’re certain now there is widespread support for unified data. In our new incarnation, we will work relentlessly to deliver the right data in the right way, appropriate to this medium and this point in time.’

Bill Murray, AOP Representative on the JICIMS board said: “The fantastic work completed thus far means we have a clear set of objectives for an industry planning currency and a well structured technical specification for what it must deliver. I have no doubt it can move the online ad industry forwards and add significant value for clients, agencies and media owners alike beyond today’s situation.

The challenge we face is to deliver that via an existing supplier at a level of cost manageable in the current climate. In large part thanks to the superb work of the JICIMS team over the last year, I have every confidence this can be achieved, given broad support across media owners, in 2009.”

Guy Phillipson, CEO of the IAB said: “Following the landmark JICIMS Stakeholders’ Summit, we already know there is substantial support for an alternative to the traditional full JIC. We are now fully committed to delivering an innovative, cost effective solution in 2009”.

Read more from Bill Murray on JICIMS at journalism.co.uk.