Nielsen is aiming to be able to attribute linear TV viewed on smartphones and tablets to its National TV ratings in the US from September 2014.
The approach will provide a single, consistent measure of live programming viewing across both TV and digital for the first time, according to the research and ratings firm.
“Networks are starving for a number they can publish that really represents their audience not just on TV but across all platforms,” said Eric Solomon, Nielsen’s senior VP of global audience measurement. “I think it will start changing the narrative that ‘people are not watching TV shows.’ It’s that they’re watching on different platforms.”
The new Nielsen capability means live television streamed through such apps as ABC’s WatchABC, as well as on iPad video apps from cable operators, will be counted toward the total numbers on which programmers get paid by TV advertisers.
In tandem, Nielsen is working to deliver Digital Program Ratings, which measure consumption of TV content online delivered without the national commercials (replaced with digitally inserted online ads), in the first quarter of next year. The firm announced a pilot of Digital Programme Ratings in April that includes participation from ABC, CBS, Fox, NBC, A&E, CW, Discovery, Univision and AOL.
“What we’re trying to do is bring a lot of the TV model to the digital world,” continued Solomon. “This will find Nielsen-coded content on any platform.”