Nielsen Preps ‘Internet Meters’ for Cross-Platform Measurement

Brian Fuhrer, Nielsen
Brain Fuhrer (The Nielson Company) on stage at NewTeeVee Live 2009 in San Francisco

Nielsen is taking steps to integrate its measurement of TV and online video viewing, telling clients that it will soon install Internet meters into Nielsen homes to come up with cross-platform metrics for what content consumers are viewing.

As part of a new initiative called “TVandPC,” Nielsen will install 7,500 of these meters in homes that participate in its National Television Panel. Once installed, the company hopes it will be able to create a combined ratings system for TV and online.

Nielsen has provided the ratings for TV programming that content providers use to sell ads with for years, but the proliferation of video viewership online has led many of its clients to seek a better way to measure total audience across the Internet and TV.

Concerns among television programmers and advertisers have only increased with the rapid growth of viewership on Hulu and other premium content sites. And measurement of video consumption across multiple platforms will be essential to the success of TV Everywhere-type initiatives, which seek to make premium broadcast and cable content available online.

Get this report for $79 when you subscribe to GigaOM Pro!

In an interview with NewTeeVee editor Chris Albrecht at NewTeeVee Live (embedded below), Nielsen senior vice president and media program leader Brian Fuhrer said that to meet that demand, the company would need to implement single-source measurement of qualified videos online as part of its current panel, which is what TVandPC is all about.

The initiative comes not long after clients like CBS (s CBS), NBC Universal (s GE), Time Warner (s TWX), Viacom, (s VIA) and News Corp (s NWS) created a competitive consortium to deal with cross-platform measurement called the Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM).

In light of that, Nielsen has accelerated its plans to develop a TV and online ratings system; previously, it had said it would begin tracking TV Everywhere services by 2011. But facing unhappy clients that have threatened to come up with their own measurement program, the company hopes that its deployment of Internet meters will be completed by August 31 of next year.