Nielsen Families Become 'Framilies,' Ratings Giant Begins Registering Mobile Devices In TV Households


As part of a broader push to include mobile users in its TV and digital video ratings estimates, Nielsen this month will begin recruiting smartphone and tablet computer users in its so-called “people meter” households. In a notice sent to clients late last week, Nielsen said a “full rollout” of mobile devices in its electronic TV measurement system would be completed by April 2015, but it did not say when and how it would integrate TV viewing on mobile devices in its national and local TV ratings estimates.

The statement said Nielsen would issue a “follow-on release” to explain the impact on its TV ratings methodology later, but the move will no doubt raise concerns from some of its TV ratings clients who might be concerned about how the additional task of measuring mobile devices could impact its TV rating sample, which is the primary currency for the national and local TV advertising marketplace.

While few TV and agency researchers would argue that mobile viewing of TV programming hasn’t become an important factor, making substantive changes to the TV ratings system typically is a red flag, because of concerns that it could impact the behavior of sample households.

Similar concerns arose when Nielsen began metering Internet access inside its sample households.

Nielsen said recruitment of mobile users inside its TV ratings panel will begin with the installation of a “registration application on mobile devices in all people meter homes.”

Nielsen did not explain how the app would be installed, but said it will enable Nielsen to “calibrate mobile video viewing data,” and added that it is “designed to protect the privacy of our panelists.”

Ultimately, Nielsen said the goal is to create a separate category of TV viewing via mobile devices, adding that tablet usage will no longer be included as part of its “PC bucket” and instead will be reported in their “own, new bucket.”

“As the media landscape continues to evolve, we are pleased to rollout this next phase of recruitment on our way to total measurement,” Nielsen explained in the statement, adding: “As mobile recruitment efforts continue through next April, we'll ensure that regular updates on progress and ongoing analysis are provided.”

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1 comment about "Nielsen Families Become 'Framilies,' Ratings Giant Begins Registering Mobile Devices In TV Households".
  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc , June 2, 2014 at 6:45 p.m.
    The point about the research panel becoming overloaded with things to do is well founded. It will be interesting to see what percentage of the Nielsen TV rating panel participates in the cell phone measurements and whether cooperation is at acceptable levels. Among the questions to be answered is how Nielsen proposes to determine whether the smartphone user actually "watched" video content on the device, how thoroughly and for how long. This is certainly an issue for advertisers. How do they know whether their commercial are actually seen?