Previously, Nielsen had been using a rigid rule that only TV programs viewed online with the exact same commercials embedded in them would qualify for the Extended Screen ratings.
"Over the past several months we have had discussions with clients about expanding the reporting options to include the reporting of program level ratings for programs without the same commercial content," Nielsen stated in an update of its plans sent to clients on Wednesday. "This work has proven to be more complex than anticipated and will therefore be offered in a future phase of Extended Screen. We will provide concrete plans for delivering additional functionality in a subsequent communication."
In the update, Nielsen also announced that it was slightly delaying the rollout of its initial phase -- the version in which TV programs viewed online with the same commercials embedded -- to April 25, 2011. Nielsen originally planned to begin reporting those Extended Screen ratings January 31, 2011.
Nielsen attributed the delay to the unexpected complexity of processing the new multiplatform ratings.
"We have encountered slight delays in our work, thus affecting the initial launch of Extended Screen," Nielsen acknowledged in the communiqué.
Extended Screen ratings -- which Nielsen executives believe will become the new, standard market currency, effectively extending the definition of the advertising marketplace's current C3 ratings to include not just time-shifted viewing on TV but also time- and place-shifted viewing done via the Internet -- is not without debate among its clients.
Ultimately, Nielsen hopes to extend the ratings to other screens as well, including mobile and hand-held ones.