Nielsen Starts To Expand Their Definition Of TV Watching

Posted Feb 22, 2013

The Nielsen Company is started to expand their definition of what TV watching includes.  Nielsen will be introducing a comprehensive plan to capture video viewing including broadband, Xbox, and iPads according to The Hollywood Reporter.  The decision to expand the definition of the TV ratings measurements came from a meeting in New York this past Tuesday of the What Nielsen Measures Committee, a group that has been meeting for nearly a year.  The committee contains a mixture of representatives from major TV networks, cable TV networks, ad agencies, big brand advertisers, and local TV stations.

This decision is not binding, but a source at one of the big 4 networks was excited about the prospect of expanded measurement tools.  The networks have complained that the total viewing of their shows is not being captured by traditional ratings measurements.  Nielsen is expecting that by September 2013, they will have new hardware and software tools for the 23,000 TV homes that they sample.  The measurements systems will capture viewership from the 75% of homes that rely on cable, satellite, and over the air broadcasts.  It will also grab data from streaming services like Netflix, Amazon, Xbox, and the PlayStation.

iPads and other tablets that receive broadband in the home will be included in the first phase of measurement improvements.  The second phase will include an attempt to capture video viewing of any kind from any source.  Netflix will need to agree to encode their program signals so that Nielsen software can identify them and trace their source as well.  The traditional TV networks will need to encode their signals to be compatible with Nielsen’s measurement tools.

Nielsen has a customized program to capture the viewing of places like restaurants, dorms, bars, and colleges.  Nielsen wants to expand their measurement for places that are outside of a home, but they are waiting until they acquire Arbitron to push that initiative forward.

[Source: THR]