Nielsen to Finally Include New Media, Streaming Video Viewership Data in Its Ratings System


Nielsen, the company known for its industry-standard ratings system of television viewership, will now finally be taking their most important step into the digital age and account for streaming video viewership data in its measurements, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Nielsen’s decision, which reportedly came after a meeting of the What Nielsen Measures Committee in New York on Tuesday, means that their viewership ratings system will soon incorporate data from video viewing done through broadband, gaming consoles and tablet devices. The move should please TV network executives who have protested for years that Nielsen’s measurement system didn’t fully capture the true total viewership of their shows.

To fully implement the planned overhaul, Nielsen would have to add new hardware and software tools into the 23 thousand households it currently tracks the viewership habits of. And to provide ratings that include platforms like Netflix, the measurement company would have to convince those sites to “encode its program signals so that Nielsen software can identify them and trace their source,” which traditional TV networks already do.

The timetable for execution of the change is not clear, but Nielsen is reportedly said to want to be able to at least measure video viewing on the iPad by the end of 2013. Previously, Nielsen has dabbled in measuring viewership on YouTube, Hulu and Netflix. The current decision by Nielsen to include streaming video viewership in their ratings system is a critical nod to the changing viewership habits of the average person, which includes new media as an everyday channel through which video content is consumed.

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