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.