Nielsen: ‘We do need new measures’

Ratings agency Nielsen has been under fire for not keeping up with new distribution platforms and has now admitted it needs to develop new measurements to take into account total viewers for a channel or show across platforms.

Megan Clarken, Nielsen’s executive vice president of global product leadership, blogged that consensus need to be found on measure for:

*   Total audience, which combines the total audience for a program or content regardless of the mode of access, including SVoD.
*   Total commercial, which includes ratings for the ad campaign regardless of where and how it’s consumed, providing flexibility for dynamic ad insertion.

“Our goal is to create a total measurement of all content and all ads— regardless of how they are accessed and the ad model that they’re supporting. Nielsen’s vision is to create an environment where all video content can be consistently measured with ratings for both the content and the advertising,” Clarken said.

Her comments followed renewed criticism from Viacom for failing to keep up with the way people watch TV. Ratings for Viacom’s networks, which include MTV, Comedy Central and Nickelodeon, fell 15 per cent during the quarter that ended in September, according to Nielsen data compiled by Bernstein Research. Those ratings challenges led Viacom’s domestic ad sales to decline 5 per cent for the quarter, the company reported.

Philippe Dauman, Viacom’s chief executive, said a large portion of the viewing of Viacom networks was through mobile apps, gaming devices and other platforms that traditional Nielsen ratings do not include.

“We are in a transitional moment with existing measurement services that have not caught up to the marketplace,” Dauman said during a conference call. “They are trying to catch up. I am sure they will eventually catch up. In the meantime, we are not waiting for that.”

Dauman said about 30 per cent of Viacom’s domestic advertising revenue was not dependent on Nielsen ratings, such as sales for mobile apps, personalised advertising and sponsorships.

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