In this interview, Jo discusses research's unique role in a corporation (discussing how research can become more influential) and the custom projects she oversees at Nielsen. She also offers some insights into media transitions and future trends.
Below is an excerpt of a longer interview, captured on five short videos. The videos can be viewed here.
CW: Nielsen has been around for many years. I know it has been very successful in transitioning to the next generation. How is Nielsen adapting to the new data streams and the way consumers are using media?
JH: That is a great question. This is a time of great change in the media landscape, most of which Nielsen measures. People talk about changing the wheels on the bus while the bus is speeding ahead.
Everything that Nielsen measures is changing rapidly. We are trying to keep up with that and capture television viewing wherever and whenever it occurs. And those possibilities are continuing to expand.
You also have the trend of internet video and how we are going to measure that and combine that with our other measures of video viewing. Not to mention all the other media platforms and devices that vie for consumers' time.
So that is the challenge. What is happening now at the company is that we are undergoing a major concerted effort to both capture all of that usage and behavior and then integrate it into some combined measures that make sense.
So we have the TV and PC initiative where we are coming up with a single combined rating for those television shows that appear on the internet and on the tv in the same form and with the same commercial load. We are seriously studying social media and what impact that has on other media use.
And there is a big push to combine the "buy" side of the company, which is the consumer data, with what we call the "watch" side, which is all the media usage data. We are also looking at Set Top Box data and have even expanded into the use of neuroscience -- trying to get beneath the surface when it comes to media use and consumer behavior.
CW: Jo, where do you see the media industry in the next five years or so?
JH: Things are changing so rapidly so it is hard to project out. Things have emerged on the landscape seemingly out of nowhere and suddenly have become very important. For a while everyone was excited about 3D TV, but some recent research done by Nielsen for CTAM suggests it may be a while before 3D becomes important in the marketplace. The problem is the glasses, and until that problem is dealt with I think it will be a minor sideline.
I think you will have a lot of people who will be buying 3D televisions but simply because those are the best and newest televisions out there. So that is one of the things that I think will not progress all that quickly until they solve the problem with the eye glasses.
On the other hand, Smart TVs or interconnected TVs, which are a very tiny part of the business right now, I think that is going to be really big. I see that as something that will really address consumer needs and wants. It is causing some consternation in the industry right now -- how it's going to affect traditional television -- and obviously there are some business issues that have to be resolved, such as content compensation and measurement of all of that viewing and attributing it correctly. But I think in the end, like the DVR, I think it will be more of a friend and a positive force in the industry rather than a negative one, once those business issues have been resolved.