Nielsen to Measure TV Through Broadband

The company that measures television viewership said Thursday it will soon begin counting people who watch programming through broadband in addition to the traditional broadcast or cable hook-up. Nielsen‘s move is a significant step toward recognizing a world where the definition of TV viewing is swiftly changing and toward satisfying clients concerned that the company […]

The company that measures television viewership said Thursday it will soon begin counting people who watch programming through broadband in addition to the traditional broadcast or cable hook-up.

Nielsen‘s move is a significant step toward recognizing a world where the definition of TV viewing is swiftly changing and toward satisfying clients concerned that the company isn’t keeping up with those changes. Separately, Nielsen is developing ways to track content on tablets and mobile phones.

For many years, roughly 99% of homes in the U.S. had televisions that received service through broadcast, cable or satellite signals.

Now the number of homes without such service is 4.2% – and growing each year. About three-quarters of those homes still have TVs, however, and their owners watch programming through game consoles or services like Netflix and Amazon. Starting September, Nielsen will have meters that can monitor viewership in those homes, said Brian Fuhrer, a senior vice-president at Nielsen.

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

Related
Twitter, Nielsen team up on new TW rating

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, Fuhrer said.

“Consumers are accessing content in new ways that fall outside of our traditional definitions and if we don’t expand… we could be missing an emerging trend,” he said.

Under Nielsen’s old definition, there are an estimated 5 million homes in the U.S. without working TV sets, up a total of 3 million from 2007. Nielsen and the industry studied this to see whether people were pulling their plugs because of the recession; instead, the bulk of the new “non-TV homes” were simply watching TV in a different way.

The changes aren’t likely to quickly boost the ratings of your favourite program, however. Most of the programs shown through broadband don’t have the same encodings as shows watched traditionally, primarily because they often have different advertisements. As a result, Nielsen will be limited in tracking what particular shows are being watched, at least until more universal encoding standards are developed.

Media Articles

Pink Triangle Press shuttering print editions of Xtra

Move follows strategic review of operations

Newspapers still key in automotive path to purchase

Three quarters of recent car buyers used papers during buying process, study says

L’Oréal Paris invites vloggers to brush up on their makeup skills

Canadian component of 11-country initiative includes Elle Canada, YouTube, eTalk

CBC/Radio-Canada expands content deal with ScreenScape

Two tiers of CBC/Radio-Canada programming available to advertisers

Evolve Media boosts French-language offering in Canada

Lifestyle division TotallyHer Canada partners with Aufeminin

St. Joseph taps Postmedia exec to head digital operations

Duncan Clark succeeds Ken Hunt, who was named Toronto Life publisher last week