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Cable Technology Feature Article

May 01, 2013

Nielsen Partners with Media Cos for Digital Video Ratings Pilot

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

As TV Everywhere continues to be adopted and more consumers turn to mobile and online screens to watch video, Nielsen is testing a tool to measure online viewing of TV shows, to improve how it tracks digital audiences.

According to the Wall Street Journal, a range of heavy hitters have signed up for the pilot, including NBC, FOX, ABC, Univision, Discovery and A+E. The first fruits of the Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will start to appear in the “next few months, before a broader commercial rollout later this year,” the WSJ reported.

Sources said that the pilot program will track viewership on media companies’ own Websites, comparing the results with internal data to prove out the accuracy of the platform ahead of a wider, non-controlled launch.

“Nielsen's hope is that the new ratings technology will become the standard to measure online TV viewing on sites like Hulu, Google’s YouTube, Yahoo and AOL (News - Alert),” the WSJ noted. “Among online video sites, only AOL is part of the pilot.”

Eric Solomon, senior vice president for Global Digital Audience (News - Alert) Measurement at Nielsen, said that the ability to measure mobile viewing will soon be incorporated into the platform as well. The ultimate goal is to provide a way to measure audience viewership across all screens—television, mobile and the Web—in order to build advertising packages that take into account the multiscreen nature of today’s video viewing habits.

There’s a long way to go to get to that point, but the pilot is a start. "What we want to do with the pilot is prove this concept," Solomon said. "We want to understand what some of the ‘gotchas’ might be before we do a commercial release."

In February, Nielsen said that it was working with ad network Tremor Video to integrate Nielsen Online (News - Alert) Campaign Ratings’ gross rating points via VideoHub for Advertisers. By combining the standard GRP metric used in TV advertising with online video performance, advertisers using VideoHub should be able to see what demographic audiences their campaigns reach online. The VideoHub ad platform then lets them track response.

“Marketers want to cleanly compare the reach of online video media to other media – principally TV,” Steve Hasker, president of Media Products and Advertiser Solutions at Nielsen, told Mediapost.

Edited by Alisen Downey

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