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Nielsen, Billboard shift their tracking to account for cord cutters

For the first time, Nielsen will begin tracking the habits of viewers who watch TV over broadband. And in another example of online media consumption shaking up traditional tracking methods, Billboard will begin including YouTube (s goog) music video views in its charts.

The Nielsen news was first reported on Wednesday by The Hollywood Reporter, which said that by September 2013 “Nielsen expects to have in place new hardware and software tools in the nearly 23,000 TV homes it samples.” Nielsen confirmed the news on Thursday, with Nielsen SVP Pat McDonough telling the New York Times that the company’s definition of “television household” will now include “those households who are receiving broadband Internet and putting it onto a television set.” According to the AP:

“This will add roughly 160 homes to Nielsen’s current sample of 23,000 houses nationwide with meters monitoring viewing habits.

More significantly, Nielsen will return to its sample to find homes that have cable or broadcast, but also separate TV sets hooked up through broadband. This will add an estimated 2,000 more broadband sets, significantly increasing the sample size.”

The company is also working on ways to track viewing on smartphones and tablets.

Separately, Billboard has begun including official YouTube music video views (from the U.S.) in its rankings. “All official videos on YouTube, including user-generated clips that utilize authorized audio, will now factor into how a song’s popularity is determined,” YouTube said on its blog. Billboard’s charts have included digital download and streaming data, tracked by Nielsen, since last year.

4 Responses to “Nielsen, Billboard shift their tracking to account for cord cutters”

  1. Matt Eagar

    Seems like an incomplete definition of “television household” to me. What about people that have broadband Internet, and prefer to view videos on a PC or mobile device, thereby doing away with the TV altogether? In other words, what difference does it make whether they stream the content to a large panel or watch it on a smaller one?

    Also, while this change makes sense if you care about show ratings, it makes no sense if you are an advertiser. Presumably they will break out the numbers – otherwise they risk making their viewership data less relevant to advertisers.