Nielsen Adds Internet Speed, Usage, Gaming To TV Ratings Characteristics

In another step toward the integration of online and television, TV ratings researcher Nielsen Co. has informed its clients that it is adding new sample characteristics to its ratings software that will enable advertisers, agencies and media companies to identify the composition of TV audiences based on their household Internet connection speed, persons Internet usage, whether the households are "telephone-capable," and whether the households play video games.

Nielsen said the data, which will be available alongside conventional demographic sample characteristic descriptors as age, gender, and ethnicity, would be used by clients to "better understand who is viewing in order to optimize advertising campaigns."

Nielsen said it has been collecting the Internet and gaming characteristics data in its national people meter sample, but had not provided them in its regular reporting until now, because some clients have requested that they be made available.

Detailed breaks within the sample characteristics that will be available include whether the household has a dial-up, or high-speed Internet connection; the number of hours individuals in the household use the Internet at home and at work; whether the household had a land line, or mobile phone, or combinations thereof; and whether there is a video game player within the household.

The new sample characteristics come as Nielsen is racing ahead with its so-called "three-screen" measurement strategy, and as the advertising and media industry are contemplating other solutions to get audience measurement data for TV, online and mobile platforms, including the recently organized Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement (CIMM).

Nielsen recently added an "integrated sample" of households reporting both their TV and Internet usage as a subset within its national TV ratings sample. And Nielsen executives said they are also developing a new subset in the national TV ratings sample that would be capable of reporting online viewing of TV programming. That subset is currently at more than 375 households and will soon be up to 400 households.

A decision to begin integrating data on the online viewing of TV programming into Nielsen's national TV ratings will need to involve Nielsen's clients, but Nielsen executives said they hope that is possible within the next year.

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