Nielsen this morning unveiled its first-ever app created directly for consumers. The mobile app, dubbed “Nielsen TOPTEN,” offers consumers direct access to the kinds of “top 10” rankers that Nielsen already provides to many newspapers and electronic news outlets. Top 10 trend categories cover TV shows, music, movies, Web sites, books, video games, consumer products -- and yes, even mobile apps.
It is not the first time Nielsen has utilized digital media technology to create a consumer-facing platform. In 2007, it launched a social network dubbed “Hey! Nielsen,” which published similar trend data about media consumption for consumers. “Hey! Nielsen” also collected data among its social media users, which grew to more than 100,000 before Nielsen shut the experiment down. It's unclear what, if anything, became of the data Nielsen collected from its “Hey! Nielsen” users, and it does not appear that its new TOPTEN app is designed to collect information, just disseminate it, and maybe even influence it.
“Users of Nielsen TOPTEN will be able to personalize their views of the lists based on customized demographics, such as age, location and gender,” Nielsen noted in its announcement. Historically, Nielsen has been somewhat guarded about the information it distributes directly to consumers, because of industry concerns that such information could also impact consumer use of the media it is trying to measure objectively. That is clearly verboten in TV audience measurement, where there are strict anti-hyping rules in place.
But Nielsen’s top researchers apparently have no concern about putting its data directly in the hands of consumers.
“Mobile devices are revolutionizing more than just communication. They are increasingly the closest available screen for consumers, changing the way we interact with other people, make purchasing decisions and even define our communities,” Nielsen Chief Research Officer Paul Donato states in the announcement, adding: “As mobile becomes more ubiquitous, putting our popular top 10 lists into the hands and pockets of consumers was a logical next step.”
In fact, Nielsen also announced an aggressive promotion campaign to help market its new app to the segment of the population that historically has been most disruptive for the advertising and media industry -- college-age consumers.
Nielsen said it is kicking off a 10-day, 10-city bus tour of universities around the U.S., including New York University, Tufts University, Virginia Tech, Howard University and the University of Wisconsin, to introduce the app.“The bus tour celebrates the launch of Nielsen TOPTEN through local events at each school, including a silent disco, interactive tent and custom top 10 lists, with content based on insights from students on each campus,” Nielsen noted.