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Summary:

Hulu is none too happy with Nielsen after the online ratings company found Hulu’s unique visitor count dropped for the third straight month in April, reports Brian Stelter at The New York Times. According to Nielsen, while the number of streams Hulu served grew 7.1 percent […]

Hulu is none too happy with Nielsen after the online ratings company found Hulu’s unique visitor count dropped for the third straight month in April, reports Brian Stelter at The New York Times.

According to Nielsen, while the number of streams Hulu served grew 7.1 percent to more than 373 million in April, up from 348 million in March and 309 million in February, at the same time, Hulu’s unique audience dropped to 7.4 million in April, down from 8.9 million in March and 9.5 million in February. Stats rival comScore, meanwhile, said Hulu had 41.5 million unique viewers by its VideoMetrix count in March.

The Times writes that in email exchanges between the two parties, Hulu staff expressed frustration with Nielsen’s extrapolation methods. Such frustration stems from the fact that advertisers to a certain extent rely on these stats when deciding where to spend their money, and Hulu is entirely reliant on those ad dollars. If there is the perception that Hulu’s audience is dwindling, that could negatively impact Hulu’s bottom line.

Third-party ratings are always kind of screwy and need to be taken with a growing (or is it shrinking?) grain of salt. Sometimes even comScore’s own VideoMetrix and MediaMetrix data can cause confusion.

Help could be on the way. Earlier this month, a group of research firms including Nielsen, comScore, Rentrak and TNS Media formed their own stats supergroup of sorts to tackle the issue of standardizing web measurement.

  1. Instead of just complaining about it why don’t they let them into the code. Let them get real numbers instead of extrapolating. Hulu knows the real numbers but doesn’t seem to be offering them up.

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  2. Pertinent question: How many of those lost 1.5 million uniques were Boxee users?

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  3. that is a pretty huge disparity….i suppose i’d be a bit cheesed off too.

    I’m with timekeeper. Allow them access on the code level and get the real count.

    It seems as if they are reluctant to do that even though its possible and there are more than a few companies who could provide them with the service.

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  4. Its probably due to those Beebox or whatever its called, users losing Hulu content.

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  5. Maybe if they opened up their platform and started allowing streams to things other than browsers (boxee, ps3, xbox 360, etc) then they could draw in a lot more users? Just an idea.

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  6. [...] stats have come under fire recently in both the old and newteevee worlds. Online, Hulu expressed frustration over its audience numbers, and TV networks are increasingly critical over whether their ratings are [...]

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  7. Sort of stinks that their ratings are dropping if that ends up affecting getting material up on the site(even tho i heard Disney is getting in on Hulu so that can bring ABC stuff to Hulu), but for me Hulu has done its job in making more addicted to television.

    I now actually watch the shows at their designated time instead of waiting for it to be posted on Hulu.

    They need to put more of the past seasons of shows, thats what made me keep coming back to this site, but now its becoming more of a place to come if I miss a new episode.

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  8. [...] in April, down from the month before, while comScore said it had 40 million. Hulu subsequently asked Nielsen to please get its act together in a letter that got picked up by the New York [...]

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  9. [...] through ad units). But some disparities are harder to grapple with. Hulu, for instance, recently complained to Nielsen in a letter that was picked up by The New York Times. Nielsen showed Hulu losing [...]

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  10. [...] had been mad last month that Nielsen said its unique viewers dropped to 7.4 million; this month it may be happy [...]

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