Now that the Interactive Advertising Bureau has settled its dispute over general audience measurement ratings with comScore and Nielsen/NetRatings, the organization hopes to develop an industry standard for counting the amount of web users viewing online videos. As TVWeek reports, the goal is to eliminate the confusion caused by different counting methods, which include by streams, episodes or show starts. The resulting disconnect among online advertisers is likely to increase as networks, who have been packaging traditional TV spots with web-based features, experiment with their own ways of measuring viewing.
Last week, Turner Broadcasting said it will report how many episodes of its TNT and TBS series are watched online, rather than how many streams, or segments, of a show get played. In June, NBC led its competitors to reconsider how they measure web viewers when it said it had delivered more than 300 million streams of video on its main site since last October. Currently, ABC reports episode starts, while Fox combines streaming figures for Fox Interactive Media. Those numbers therefore include Fox’s full-length episodes as well as MySpace videos. CBS doesn’t release data on consumption of its online video.
Many TV nets divide their webisodes into four to five streams for a drama and two to three streams for a sitcom. The point is to make it simplify the delivery of the shows and also to insert ads in each break. But that also allows networks to count based on the stream, as opposed to the number of individuals watching what ought to be considered a single webisode. The IAB hopes to nail down a single standard within the next 12 months.