Nielsen made an announcement yesterday that they are rolling out a pilot program this month for Nielsen Digital Program Ratings. We read Nielsen’s Press Release, along with this Wall Street Journal article, and put just the facts that we think you need to know in a blog post for an express-read.
What is Nielsen’s Digital Program Ratings? Nielsen’s Digital Program Ratings is a tool that will measure online content viewing of TV shows.
Why are they rolling out a system for measuring online content? The reason behind this new system is to track digital audiences and offer a holistic view of the online and TV audience for both programming content and ad campaigns.
Media companies have been putting pressure on Nielsen to create a system that tracks how content is viewed on any and every device (computers, phones, and tablets). The online viewing of TV shows is growing rapidly but networks are not getting any credit for it with advertisers, so Nielsen is trying to change that and this is the first step in that direction.
How will the pilot program work? A few networks will use the program to track viewership of their shows viewed from their own websites, and then they will compare their internal data with Nielsen’s data. The way I read it, they want to compare the two sets of data to figure out a comfortable and proven formula before establishing the system further.
The program will provide web-oriented metrics like unique audience, stream counts, and reach by age and gender.
What are the networks participating in the pilot program? The networks are NBC, FOX, ABC, Univision, Discovery Communications, and A&E.
What is the timeline for Nielsen’s Digital Program Ratings? The pilot program runs from May through July. The commercial release is targeted for later this year and will include weighting of video and reporting of TV comparable ratings.
What are the challenges they face right now? First, the technology cannot yet provide viewership data in the traditional ratings format of the TV industry. Second, there is not a good way to gauge how long the viewer has watched the TV show.