Nielsen steps closer to cross-platform measurement
Company gets a much-needed accreditation from the Media Rating Council
February 8, 2017
There’s been a great deal of hand-wringing over the rollout of Nielsen’s new cross-platform measurement tools, one part of which has sparked such protest from the networks that the ratings company decided to delay the syndication of the data.
So Nielsen was in need of some good news, a little validation in its journey to make its ratings better reflect the realities of TV viewing today, an upgrade that’s sorely needed in this digital era.
The MRC has given accreditation to the company’s Digital in TV Ratings, part of its Total Audience Measurement (TAM) initiative.
It allows for digital viewership to be added to Nielsen’s TV ratings. It’s already in use a by ABC, CBS and Univision, even though it had not been accredited yet.
The metric, which requires that program content and commercials match the linear TV airing, is the second part of Nielsen’s TAM program to be certified by the MRC, following Digital Ad Ratings.
Some agencies have pushed for TAM to be used for ad buying as soon as this May’s upfront. That seems overly ambitious, but it underscores the huge appetite for improved ratings among media people.
The fact is, Nielsen has been slow to keep up, and buyers are eager to get these numbers into the marketplace, warts and all, so they can get their clients deals that better represent how TV is being consumed these days.
Total Content Ratings
Another part of TAM is Total Content Ratings, the program that prompted so much controversy with its proposed rollout earlier this year.
NBCUniversal claimed, and many other networks then agreed, that the system was not ready to be rolled out.
Nielsen insisted it was, but ultimately caved, changing the timetable for the rollout and sending data to clients in an offline rather than online format.
Criticisms include some networks’ failure to install the technology that would allow Nielsen to expand its measurement and inconsistencies in measurement.
Nielsen says it plans to submit TCR for MRC approval when they’re ready.
Digital and TV ratings
For now, it will be interesting to see how quickly Nielsen can get to that next step and what the response from media people is to the latest accreditation, namely whether it helps ease concerns about the new ratings.
“With this validation of its measurement of TV programming viewed on computers and mobile devices, Nielsen has taken an important step in its efforts to meet the needs of the marketplace to have a fuller view into the consumption of TV programming across platforms, regardless of how it is being consumed,” said George Ivie, executive director of the MRC, in a statement.
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