A Blog by Jonathan Low

 

Jul 31, 2017

Nielsen (Finally) Adds YouTube and Hulu To TV Ratings

Although this will provide a limited sample, it should somewhat enhance the accuracy of what has been an increasingly outdated measurement of actual audience viewing patterns. And that should give advertisers and providers a more realistic assessment of who is watching what where - and how much it may be worth. JL

Alexandra Bruell reports in the Wall Street Journal:

Metrics will now include viewing across desktops and mobile devices from “skinny bundles” offered by Hulu and YouTube. To be able to measure audiences across devices and streaming platforms, Nielsen has had to get media companies and streaming platforms to install software that reports viewing data across devices. The Nielsen TV rating will only include Hulu and YouTube TV programming in which the ads that appear on digital platforms are the same as those that air on live TV.
Nielsen said it has begun counting viewership on new streaming TV services offered by Hulu and YouTube toward the official ratings for shows, its latest step to modernize measurement standards as digital consumption increases.
The standard ratings metrics for TV networks -- used as currencies in dealings with advertisers -- are “C3” and “C7,” referring to live and time-shifted viewing of programming within three and seven days of the initial telecast, respectively.
Those metrics will now include viewing across desktops and mobile devices from “skinny bundles” offered by Hulu and YouTube -- slimmed-down packages of cable channels that stream live for a monthly fee, acting as a replacement for traditional cable service.
Nielsen’s ratings had already included digital viewing from Sling TV and Sony ’s PlayStation Vue, as well as TV apps such as “CBS All Access.”
“This is the first time we see major digital distribution platforms like Hulu and YouTube coming into the TV ratings,” said Megan Clarken, president of product leadership at Nielsen.
“We started investing in this capability three years ago,” she said. “There are now more platforms that are becoming available for live streaming.”
The Nielsen TV rating will only include Hulu and YouTube TV programming in which the ads that appear on digital platforms are the same as those that air on live TV.
Nielsen calculates traditional TV ratings based on data gathered from a panel of thousands of households. But measuring viewing on mobile devices required new technology and partnerships with content providers and distributors.
To be able to measure audiences across devices and streaming platforms, Nielsen has had to get media companies and streaming platforms to install software that reports viewing data across devices.
“We’ve been working on the Total Audience framework for the past three years, and it’s been a process of building the platforms and distributing software,” said Ms. Clarken.
For TV networks, keeping the TV rating updated is vital, as it is the basis for their sale of commercial space to advertisers. The TV rating still leaves out other digital, on-demand viewing -- including programming where the digital ads differ from the TV ads. Nielsen captures that viewing in a separate “Total Audience” metric that blends TV and digital viewing more holistically.
Unlike C3 and C7, Total Audience products are not used “for trade,” said Ms. Clarken. Rather, networks might use the viewing data to tout their audience size, and advertisers might use the metric to plan their ad distribution.
Google’s YouTube TV launched a few months ago, with a $35-a-month subscription for more than 50 live channels. Hulu, which launched in 2008 as an early on-demand streaming platform, recently announced a new live TV offering that includes programming from major networks.

1 comments:

Joel.In.Hotlanta said...

Sure wish Nielson would have gotten into the print newspaper auditing years ago. Newspapers have always needed a trusted, go-to measuring source, which ABC never was.

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