In baseball, the batting champ may be .1 better than the guy in second. When the Chrysler Building neared completion in 1930, the designer secretly got permission to add a spire that made it just a little bit bigger than the world’s tallest building down on Wall Street. Guinness has a whole books of records, dubious and not.
But for Netflix, measuring who watches it has so far been elusive, and it bothers TV executives who live and surely die by the Nielsen numbers. Last month, you’ll recall NBC’s top numbers cruncher, Alan Wurtzel, disclosed some of the data it has on Netflix using its own research.
Netflix bashed them for that, discredited the accuracy and hooted that possibly NBC was fascinated by Netflix’s audience because it didn’t have any better research--about themselves--to talk about.
Now it appears that comScore plans to change that in just a couple months. According to Advanced Television, comScore says that its new Total Home Panel will be able to measure over-the-top services like Netflix and Amazon. That should be ready by Q3.
Earlier this year, comScore merged with Rentrak and promised to be a bigger rival to Nielsen than either of them had been separately.
That battleground is being fought mainly on the battlefield of devices, from TVs to smartphones to game consoles to over-the-top devices.
Nielsen has its own Total Audience Measurement technology rolling out this year too, and apparently it also has the ability to track viewership of Netflix or Amazon programming too, at least to an extent.
Nielsen does it for studios that supply audio files to them so that’s picked up by boxes in Nielsen panelists’ homes and then intuits the info to the source. Adweek says that unusual route is taken because Netflix and Amazon strip watermarks from its content.
That audio match sounds like the way NBC got its Netflix “ratings,” compiled for the network by ad tech company Rhapsody.
The comScore Total Home Panel is now measuring 4,000 devices, ramping up to 60,000 by the summer and 300,000 by the end of the year.
But the official rollout is planned for April, just a month before the television upfronts and shortly before digital’s NewFronts. Obviously, comScore is hoping to be the buzz of the ball but whether it will influence buyers, so soon after its introduction, seems to be a stretch.
Speaking just for myself, though, I'll be fascinated to learn the audience for Amazon’s second season of “Transparent” or that new season of “House of Cards” on Netflix. It seems to me that if it starts getting around that not everything SVOD streamers create is a sensational hit with online viewers, that could shake things up.