In 2014 Nielsen Will Start Counting Your Phone/Tablet TV Viewing

TV Everywhere is, well, just about everywhere now. Major networks like ABC, CNN, and EPSN have begun to turn on in-app live streams of their broadcasts. Service providers like Dish are letting customers access their TV set-top boxes and DVRs from phones and tablets. In our household, my wife barely tolerates Aaron Sorkin's one-note scripting and won't even consider “Breaking Bad,” so my Monday and Tuesday stairmaster sessions are occupied with accessing the DVR recordings of both from my iPad Dish app.

But as many of us rely on devices for catch-up and remote TV viewing, who is measuring all of that activity? So far the industry has once again lagged behind consumer behavior. Nielsen is promising that this will change in the fall of 2014. According to a report in Variety, Nielsen will begin to include in its TV ratings linear TV viewing on smartphones and devices.

The data around TV content consumption is woefully fragmented as of now. Whether this really will bring it into focus in any unified way is an open question. As Variety points out, Nielsen is still struggling for an acceptable way to measure overall digital program viewing as well, because these views are often time-shifted and have different ads digitally inserted into the stream.

Variety quotes sources on the sell and buy side who welcome Nielsen’s embrace of mobile platforms to the ratings mix but voice frustration with it taking so long. Viacom Research Chief Colleen Fahey-Rush calls Nielsen the “bad boyfriend” the TV industry can’t give up because he is the only boy in school. “They have a lot to deliver,” she says.

Similarly, Universal McCann Chief Media Officer David Cohen says that the schedule of the rollout (the fall 2014 season) demonstrates how the industry is still trying to keep up with consumers.

Nielsen would not provide further details about the mobile TV metrics but promised to be announcing more details at an event during Advertising Week.  

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2 comments about "In 2014 Nielsen Will Start Counting Your Phone/Tablet TV Viewing ".
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  1. Barry Davys from www.marketingandmobile.com, September 20, 2013 at 8:49 a.m.

    Good for Neilson, although I think there are many businesses that are not properly measuring the interactions from mobile and, perhaps more significantly, still not understanding that sales processes are changing because of the way consumers are using mobile devices. Recent example, Russian woman using an ipad in Spain to compare prices between Russia and Spain for an American Brand.

  2. George Kaplan from Retired, September 20, 2013 at 3:40 p.m.

    Nielsen sure is good at doing press releases. In 2006 they did one on A2M2 and nothing happened within their 5 year timeline. In 2010 they did one on set top box data and nothing has happened yet. Now in a bold, innovative move, they're trying to buy Arbitron in the U.S. after their multi-color sticker approach to measure radio didn't work. Given their track record, I'm not holding my breath regarding this latest press release about a new single source approach for mobile, tablets, etc.