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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.