Archive for April 1st, 2010

Nielsen changing the way it counts viewers

Thursday, April 1st, 2010

Nielsen, the television ratings service, this week said it is making “fundamental changes in the way it calculates its so-called ‘average audience’ ratings — long the currency of the $80 billion TV advertising marketplace,” Media Daily News reports. “Perhaps the most significant of the changes is that Nielsen will begin including duplicate viewing of all program telecasts in its average audience ratings, a move that could undermine one of the core tenets of Madison Avenue’s media planning theory: unduplicated reach.”

While the absolute amount of duplicate viewing that currently takes place via the Internet and various devices such as digital video recorders and video-on-demand services currently is small, it is expected to grow over time, and potentially could dilute the meaning of audience reach,” the report says.

“It’s unlikely that any repeated program content viewing will deliver repeated commercial viewing,” Don Seaman, vice president-director of communications analysis at MPG, told Media News Daily. “Once again, the metric is favoring the content providers and probably overstating what the actual commercial impact really is.”

Nielsen spokesman Gary Holmes said it’s much ado about practically nothing. “The estimate is that it will increase viewing under 1 percent,” he said. That figure is the amount Nielsen estimates the inclusion of duplicate viewing done via DVRs will have on the absolute size of average audience ratings. The impact of viewing TV programs online currently is negligible.

In another move drawing fire, Nielsen is eliminating overnight access to its live-only local TV program ratings, which covers around 70 percent of local U.S. television homes. “For the better part of 50 years, advertisers have used live-only as their currency,” Media Daily News says. “In the last few years, Nielsen has added new streams of program data to account for time-shifting. But few, if any, advertisers made deals on these other metrics.”