Nielsen adding Internet viewing to C3 ratings


Nielsen announced a timetable for adding online viewing of television programs into its TV ratings – including the C3 ratings – for the first time. This is part of the decision they announced 12/1 to create within their National People Meter panel a “single source” measurement for both television and online consumption of video content. That plan calls for rolling out Internet measurement to all National People Meter households by 8/31. 

Under the timetable, network programs that are streamed online with the commercials intact (the TV Everywhere/On Demand Online concept) will be added to the ratings starting with data for the month of September (this data will be released sometime in Q4).  This data will be considered “evaluation data” until 2/11, at which point it will become part of the standard Nielsen currency.  This timetable is accelerated considerably from the launch dates they had originally proposed because of feedback they received from clients about the urgency of this initiative.

This should give a boost to TV Everywhere and On Demand Online because networks were reluctant to provide programming unless they knew they could get credit for it.

The letter to clients from Sara Erichson, President, Media Client Services North America, The Nielsen Company:

Schedule for Implementing “Extended Screen” Measurement In Nielsen’s National People Meter Panel

Television Programs Presented Online with the Same Commercial Content as on TV Can Have Online Viewing Integrated in to the TV Ratings Currency

Combined Ratings First Available for the Month of September 2010

Dear Client,

On December 1st, Nielsen announced its plan to roll out Internet meters to all households in the National People Meter sample that have Internet access – an initiative we refer to as “TVandPC”.

This will enable the measurement of online viewing to television content among the same People Meter households that are the source of Nielsen’s national television ratings. Once the rollout is complete, by the end of August of this year, we expect to have online measurement from approximately 7,500 National People Meter households representing about 20,000 people and 12,000 computers. This new single source panel will complement Nielsen’s online panel of 230,000 computers and is designed to meet the needs of multiple client business models. It will serve as the foundation for a number of Nielsen’s cross platform measurement initiatives.

One of these measurement initiatives is “Extended Screen” reporting. This refers to taking the online viewing to a television program and merging it with the standard television audience data resulting in a single combined national television rating. Extended Screen reporting will be available for those television programs that have the same program and national commercial content that aired on TV. To receive Extended Screen credit, these qualifying programs must be appropriately encoded and converted for online distribution. Extended Screen is compatible with the business models associated with Time Warner’s “TV Everywhere” and Comcast’s “OnDemand Online” initiatives.

In Nielsen’s December 1st communication we stated that we would follow up with a timeline for the creation and implementation of Extended Screen reporting in our national television ratings. The purpose of this communication is to provide that timeline.

Combined TV and online national audience data, for programs and commercials that meet Extended Screen reporting criteria, will be available starting with data for the month of September 2010. The details are as follows:

• Ratings will initially be released as evaluation data, on a delayed basis, and in parallel to standard production data which will remain unchanged.

• The first set of evaluation data (for the month of September) will be released sometime during 4th quarter and no later than the end of the year. Our intent is to provide data as early as possible in the 4th quarter. As the year progresses, and more of the development work is completed, we will be able to refine the delivery date.

• At the start of February 2011, evaluation data will cease to be produced and the standard Nielsen production data moving forward will include qualifying online viewing.

• The Nielsen TV products that will include online viewing combined with TV viewing are:
o All commercial ratings data files (MITs) including C3.
o All respondent level data files

This schedule reflects a significantly compressed timeline compared to estimated timelines previously shared. In the near term, Nielsen will create a small client committee to work with us on defining, in more precise terms, what online program and national commercial viewing qualifies for combined reporting as well as to work through editing and crediting rules.

Concurrently, we will continue to talk with all clients – across all client segments — about their measurement needs. As previously noted, Nielsen’s cross platform measurement solutions – including the roll out of Internet meters in the National sample – are being designed to support different business models and capture the multitude of ways in which video content is presented online.

Nielsen believes that it is critical for our measurement services to continue to evolve to reflect the changing ways in which people consume media. The inclusion of online viewing in the TV ratings currency reflects our commitment to innovation. This initiative is also consistent with Nielsen’s strategy to roll out 2-screen and 3-screen audience measurement across markets globally – including the U.S. 

Best Regards,
Sara Erichson
President, Media Client Services North America
The Nielsen Company