Cautious Nielsen to Track TV Everywhere by 2011


Multi-service operators may be charging head first into their TV Everywhere initiatives, but Nielsen is taking a — pardon the pun — more measured approach. In an open letter posted to its corporate blog today, Sara Erichson, Nielsen President, Media Client Services North America wrote explained the company’s cautious approach (hat tip to Multichannel News):

Nielsen has developed an Internet software meter that uses the same technology to measure video viewing online as the Nielsen Active/Passive (A/P) Meter does for television. We’ve currently installed this Internet software meter among 375 homes in our National People Meter panel, allowing us to evaluate the measurement of Internet usage alongside TV usage. Given that more than $70 billion of television advertising is bought and sold using Nielsen ratings, we are careful not to take any actions that would dilute the reliability of the core television ratings data. Consequently, we are undertaking an extensive evaluation program before fully integrating television and Internet measurement.

Long story short, Nielsen will start rolling out its Internet meter to all People Meter homes before the end of the year with complete installation in 2010 and full implementation in early 2011.

TV Everywhere has been a hot topic over the summer as Comcast (s CMCSA), Time Warner Cable (s TWC), DirecTV (s DTV) and AT&T (s T) all talked up their respective authentication trials. But being able to include online views into the overall ratings for TV shows is critical for networks hungry to hang onto ad dollars. When we spoke to Comcast OnDemand Online trial participant CBS (s CBS), they said that getting third-party metrics from a company like Nielsen was one of several hurdles Comcast needed to overcome in order to get permanent access to CBS content.

Nielsen’s methods have come under fire this year from both old and newteevee as Hulu, American Idol and ABC World News have all contested their ratings. This public show of assurance from Nielsen comes less than a month after a bevy of TV networks like NBC (s GE), Time Warner (s TWX) and Disney (s DIS) teamed up with advertisers like Procter & Gamble and media agencies like GroupM to form their own supergroup of a cross-platform media measurement firm.

TV Everywhere is such a big topic for our industry that we’ve made it one of our main themes at this year’s NewTeeVee Live conference. We’ll be speaking with such industry luminaries like Roku CEO, Anthony Wood; Comedy Central EVP Digital, Erik Flannigan; and Boxee CEO, Avner Ronen. Early bird-priced tickets are on sale now.


Scott Jensen

LOL This is hilarious! Come on, people! Think about what Nielsen would end up really monitoring? Come on. Give it a second. Think about it. LOL

For those of you who live in nunneries or monasteries, I’ll help you out. PORN! Yes, PORN! What Nielsen will find out is which of the free porn sites is the most popular. Is it RedTube, Spankwire, YouPorn, XTube, or some other free porn site? Anyone care to take bets? Robert and Bill, care to set up a poll to see which we think will get the top rating nod?

Now seriously, because people watch most of their porn on their computers these days, how will Nielsen deal with that activity? Would it report on it? If it doesn’t, how doesn’t it? Will there be just a generic category of “adult entertainment” that Nielsen doesn’t break down any further? Or will it be like a prude and just not include those numbers at all?

And then think of how many people would actually opt-in for Nielsen monitoring their online porn activity. How would most handle it? Only let Nielsen put the software on the computer they know they’ll not be watching porn on? Demand a opt-out switch/button for when they don’t want Nielsen monitoring their internet activity (a.k.a. online porn activity)? I wonder how many will volunteer without thinking this all the way through but then come late at night and they’re wanting to watch that orgy video clip, they going, “Oh shit!” and then wondering how to turn off the damn Nielsen software. LOL

Michael Tapp

NIELSEN: Hey, can I install this piece of software on your computer? Come on, I’ll give you a couple of bucks.

ME: No thank you.

Shakir Razak



-Who’s measuring mobile viewership?
-Will TV Everywhere encompass mobile content/access?
-How will metrics be formulated where content is initiated on one platform, but goes on to be accessed on others as a single viewing-experience – plus, think console-like remote profiles?

Kind regards,

Shakir Razak

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