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Cable Technology Feature Article

October 29, 2013

Nielsen to Tap Second-screen Viewing Data for TV Measurement

By Tara Seals, TMCnet Contributor

Industry breakthroughs like multi-room DVRs, Internet-connected TVs, tablets, smart phones and even in-browser and app content players deliver more choices and flexibility than ever before. They’ve also led to audience fragmentation and marketplace challenges regarding how to properly value and monetize video content.

To tackle the issue, Nielsen said that it plans to incorporate audiences viewing TV content on digital devices into traditional TV measurement for the 2014-15 TV season. To help the effort along, it has now announced that it will make the software developer kit (SDK) that enables this measurement available for implementation in mid-November.

“We can all agree that consumers have embraced a new age of viewing video content lock, stock and barrel,” it said in a blog. “From traditional content offered by TV broadcasters to native content from digital publishers, technological advancements mean consumers now have myriad options to watch what, when and how they want.”

image via shutterstock

For the past several months, Nielsen has been sharing with clients and industry leaders how it plans to take into account second-screen viewing in its measurements in order to gain a more accurate picture of overall television consumption.

“We’ve been working hard to deliver this new SDK and are excited to be able to deliver a single client solution that supports both the linear (TV-style) and dynamic (Internet-style) ad models," said Megan Clarken, executive vice president and global product leader at Nielsen. "This unified encoding approach for video enables measurement to follow content across screens and ad models."

For example, if a broadcaster makes a TV show available for viewing on a digital device and it meets the ad load and timeline requirements for TV ratings, then that viewing will credit to the Nielsen TV ratings. If that content is not eligible for TV ratings—due to elapsed crediting time, dynamic ad insertion or because it originated from the Web itself—then the viewing of it will be included in Nielsen Digital Ratings, specifically Nielsen Digital Program Ratings for content ratings and Nielsen Online (News - Alert) Campaign Ratings for the ad rating.

“This revolution in viewing measurement mirrors the innovation we’ve seen in technology,” Nielsen said. “Not only does it seize the spirit of how consumers are putting that technology to use, but it also keeps the different kinds of viewer in mind. And the real benefit therein is that it accurately reflects the viewer best reached by the traditional TV ad model while enabling a comparable metric to reach and measure digital viewers as well.”

In order to capture the breadth required to measure mobile viewing, Nielsen plans to use big data analytics and a census-style measurement approach that matches demographic information in what it says is a “privacy safe way,” via data providers, such as Facebook (News - Alert), and then caibrates it with Nielsen’s National People Meter panel.

“The best part about this approach is that the patent-pending Nielsen technology behind the SDK will know where to credit the viewing, because it will analyze the audio watermarks, metadata or tags associated with the content and related advertising,” the company explained.

Edited by Ryan Sartor

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