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Cable Technology Feature Article

July 17, 2014

Facebook and Nielsen Join Forces to Gather Mobile TV Ratings

By David Gutbezahl, TMCnet Contributing Writer

The popularity and demographics of a television program are often based upon ratings determined through statistics gathered on those who tune in to the program. This information is vital for television stations and producers in order to decide on when and what programs should be aired, along with what type of advertisements should be played during airtime. Unfortunately for Nielsen, the company that has been gathering these ratings for decades, mobile devices have recently thrown a wrench into their data collection system. In steps social media giant Facebook (News - Alert), with a recently announced partnership with Nielsen that will give the data management company access to important demographics.

Remote viewing has been on the rise, with many choosing to watch their favorite television programs through apps and websites on a mobile device. Nielsen, until now, has mainly relied upon data collected from meters that come installed on television devices. These meters are not installed on mobile devices, thus leaving Nielsen in the dark.

The new partnership between Facebook and Nielsen will open the shades on mobile viewing, giving Nielsen access to the information they are craving. Facebook has agreed to provide Nielsen with the age and gender statistics of those who are watching a television program through remote viewing. This information will be useful for analyzing how people are using their mobile devices for entertainment, and will allow advertisers to better tailor their marketing campaigns for the mobile audience.

The new partnership may have some worried about privacy concerns. To help allay these fears, this data will be gathered through a double-blind study. Facebook will not be able to see the actual name of a show that a user is watching, instead receiving an unidentifiable numeric code for each program.

This is not the first time that the two companies have worked together, with Facebook giving Nielsen demographic information back in 2010. Increased pressure from advertisers has pushed Nielsen to increase their relationship with Facebook, leading to this new partnership. Nielsen is used to working with social media, with past deals being made with Twitter (News - Alert), leading to the creation of last year's “Nielsen Twitter TV Rating.” 

Edited by Adam Brandt

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