Kicking the legs out from Media Metrix

The lead news story in this issue addresses a controversy in the Internet media community over the validity of Web site audience measurement data being provided by Media Metrix Canada - which issued its first audience report last month after opening...

The lead news story in this issue addresses a controversy in the Internet media community over the validity of Web site audience measurement data being provided by Media Metrix Canada – which issued its first audience report last month after opening shop here in Canada last fall. It seems there are a few major Web sites around that aren’t happy with the fact that Media Metrix isn’t yet measuring Web usage in Canadian workplaces or in French Canada.

Canoe, which has been the most vocal critic of Media Metrix thus far, claims that its own audience tracking systems show it’s getting nearly three times the number of unique visitors to its site than was reported last month by Media Metrix. Adding fuel to Canoe’s public indignation is the fact that its numbers have been audited and verified by the Audit Bureau of Circulations (ABC).

For its part, Media Metrix makes no attempt to hide the fact that its measurement data is currently limited to an analysis of the Web-surfing habits of a panel of 2,000 English-speaking consumers who surf the Net in their homes. It is, however, in the process of expanding the size of its panel to 5,000 consumers and adding a workplace component to its reporting process by next summer. In the meantime, Media Metrix is confident that it’s gathering enough relevant data from its existing panel to deliver a partial, but still meaningful, glimpse of Canadian consumer Web usage habits.

In other words, even in its current unfinished state, Media Metrix provides Web advertisers with an independent, across-the-board analysis of the Canadian Internet media industry – which is more than the industry’s had before. Certainly, the ABC methodology is a more comprehensive, and presumably more accurate, way of measuring the visitor activity on a single site. But, because of its highly focused nature, the ABC audit is not suitable for presenting an aggregate view of the Canadian Web scene.

The Media Metrix audience measurement process isn’t perfect now, and probably never will be. But until Nielsen Media Research rolls out its Net/Ratings system later this year, Media Metrix is all the industry’s got. Why not give it a chance to smooth out the bumps in its process?

After all, no one Web site is being singled out for unfair treatment – the same measurement model is being applied to all. If it’s ultimately proven that Nielsen or ABC or some other party has a better system, let that one become the standard. Just don’t kick the legs out from under them before giving them a chance to fully demonstrate their worth.

David Bosworth

Kraft Heinz beats the street, but reports slight sales slide

The company's Q2 net sales, while down slightly, reveal continued demand for snacks and pre-packaged meals.
Kraft Heinz

Kraft Heinz is reporting earnings of 78 cents a share, beating Wall Street’s estimate of 72 cents a share, thanks to continued demand for snacks and pre-packaged meals. However, the company also reported a net sales decline of 0.5% compared with the same period last year, to $6.6 billion, according to its latest Q2 earnings report, released Tuesday.

The company experienced a favourable 2.3 percentage point impact from currency and a negative 0.7 percentage point impact from its February divestiture of Hormel Foods – including the Planters peanut brand – which closed in the second quarter of 2021.

Its cheese divestiture – which included the sale of its natural cheese division to Lactalis – is expected to close in the second half of 2021, says Kraft Heinz Global CEO Miguel Patricio in this morning’s conference call.

Adjusted EBITDA slumped 5.2% versus the year-ago period to $1.7 billion and increased 6.6% versus the comparable 2019 period. Higher transportation and inflation-related goods costs continue to affect the company’s bottom line.

Kraft Heinz’ organic net sales declined 3.6% in Canada over the last three months compared with a comparable period last year, this as total net sales rose 8.8% year over year. 

However, its overall organic net sales slipped 2.1% compared with 2020 figures. This includes the negative impact stemming from exiting its McCafé licensing agreement. However, this decline was partly offset, Kraft Heinz reports, by “partial recovery in foodservice channels and retail consumption trends.”

“Food service is recovering, and recovering fast,” Patricio stressed in today’s earnings call. He said “the bet to support QSR” early in the pandemic, with individual packets of ketchups and sauces, is paying off.

Channel trends are still normalizing, he warns, and it’s too early to see how at home or away from home, will net out. “We have big ambitions for away from home business,” he said. Consumers continue to evolve how they eat, with Patricio saying that Kraft Heinz is collaborating with a popular DTC brand for its Philadelphia cream cheese.

Accrued marketing costs, the company reports, rose to $968 million from $946 million in December 2020.

“We are investing more in our brands, and better as well, building a much more creative company,” Patricio reported.

Kraft Heinz is also strengthening and diversifying its media presence, he said, driving repeat rates for those discovering and rediscovering the brand. Patricio added that the company is continuing to drive its transformation program forward, modernizing its brands and better connecting with its consumers.