Editor's Note: This story incorrectly refers to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings as the data source for ABC's mobile content consumption growth. The correct source is ABC's internal data. A separate correction has been published.
Would it surprise you, once it’s all sorted out, that even with a barrage of online video, that viewing of actual television content is not down very much at all?
I’m still thinking about that myself. But if you add up all the TV-generated content that can be found on YouTube, Hulu, Netflix, Amazon and all the others, it just might be that the amount of time spent watching original online video content is just a sliver.
If you fine-line that down to original professional made-for-online video (rather than user generated content), it’s quite possible that the online video revolution is measurable and significant but not headed-toward-overwhelming.
Someday, we’ll know. As the largest content generators--the broadcast and cable networks--tilt more and more toward online versions of themselves, the pressure is on Nielsen to create measurements the largest users and the largest advertisers feel at home using.
They will feel at home using it because it will end up counting viewership exactly what they want it to be counted, which is what happens when the biggest clients get involved.
Bloomberg.com reports that the networks think the Internet audience is being severely undercounted, which means a substantial number of viewers watching television over the Internet (on an iPad, for example) aren’t being counted.
Since traditional TV viewing on the Big 4 is down—by 20% at Fox this year—getting TV audiences counted online is crucial. Lyle Schwartz, managing director at WPP Plc, tells Bloomberg that an accurate Nielsen count would add as little as 3% but as much as 12% to TV’s ratings. That, obviously, is huge.
Just as obviously, there ARE numbers for online viewing, from com.Score for one. They’re just not numbers the biggest content makers, or the biggest advertisers, want to use. That’s why Nielsen’s new efforts to count online viewership, the pilot program called Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, announced at the end of last month, will be significant. It purports to measure audiences for TV content viewed online from participating networks (A+E, ABC, AOL, CBS, The CW, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBC and Univision that began this month and will go through the end of July.