The independent measurement of subscription-based streaming content has taken a giant leap forward, as Nielsen has officially flipped the switch on Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) Content Ratings.
Nielsen calls this “a game-changing service,” and it’s received widespread support from key players in the TV industry. Eight major television networks and production studios, including A&E Networks, Disney-ABC, Lionsgate, NBCUniversal, and Warner Bros., have already signed on to subscribe to the service.
It puts a solid metric on Netflix, for starters, with the potential for similarly structured video entertainment services to also sign on to the new ratings. The Wall Street Journal reports that Hulu and Amazon Prime Video will begin seeing measurement in the SVOD ratings in 2018.
The SVOD Content Ratings solution will provide measurement of programs at the season and episode level in a manner comparable to linear television data—including ratings, reach, frequency and segmentation reporting.
Nielsen began measuring streaming content in 2014 via an opt-in service. This new solution takes SVOD measurement “to the next level” with what Nielsen considers “a significant enhancement to its video on demand (VOD) Content Ratings framework, which leverages the rich demographic and household characteristic data of the Nielsen National TV Panel, to identify viewing to these programs.”
Megan Clarken, Nielsen’s President of its “Watch” segment, said, “The syndication of SVOD measurement as part of Nielsen’s Total Audience offerings represents a big step forward in terms of moving closer to transparency within the SVOD marketplace. The significant growth of SVOD services in entertainment markets across the world has created demand from rights owners to understand the size and composition of audiences relative to other programs and platforms.”
With the rollout of the SVOD measurement service, subscribing clients gain a far more comprehensive view of their content’s total audience regardless of where it was viewed—and the ability to follow the full life cycle of a program from live to time-shifted viewing to set-top-box video on-demand and now SVOD.
Conversely, as SVOD originated programs re-enter the traditional television ecosystem, an established track record of their audience profiles will already exist. “These new insights will empower content owners and networks with real data into what was previously a significant and expanding blind spot of consumer behavior,” Nielsen notes.
The ratings aren’t exactly being embraced by Netflix. In a statement to The Wall Street Journal, the company said, “The data that Nielsen is reporting is not accurate, not even close, and does not reflect the viewing of these shows on Netflix.”