Nielsen Accredited To Include 'Digital' Viewers In Linear TV Ratings

Nielsen this morning said it has been accredited by the Media Rating Council to include “digital” measurement in its TV ratings, or what Nielsen calls “Digital in TV Ratings (DTVR).”

The new ratings represent the audiences of linear TV programming viewed on computers and mobile devices.

Nielsen asserted that it is the “first solution” measuring the contribution of digital audiences to TV program ratings accredited by the MRC.

The news comes a day after Nielsen’s chief rival in audience measurement, comScore, reported it was in violation of Securities and Exchange Commission reporting compliance and may have its shares de-listed from the Nasdaq stock exchange.

comScore’s shares plummeted 28% Monday following that news.

Nielsen launched its DTVR service in 2015; it is currently used by some of the biggest television networks, including ABC, CBS, Freeform and Univision.

Nielsen said it will continue to work with the MRC to gain accreditation for other Nielsen “Total Audience” solutions, including its so-called “Digital Content Ratings,” and intends to seek accreditation for “Total Content Ratings” soon.



5 comments about "Nielsen Accredited To Include 'Digital' Viewers In Linear TV Ratings".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics, February 7, 2017 at 9:42 a.m.

    But, Joe, Nielsen isn't measuring digital "viewers", merely device usage. Even if Nielsen knows who owns or is the primary user of a particular device and assumes that this person is the one "watching", there might be someone else also looking at the same screen. Moreover, how does Nielsen know that anyone is actually viewing the device on an average minute---or commercial minute---basis? If a video commercial is on the device's screen, along with various other display ads and editorial content, how does Nielsen determine that the video ad was "seen"? In other words, is a "digital viewer" as measured by Nielsen, to be equated on a one-for-basis with an in-home "linear TV viewer"?Or should the digital "ratings" be discounted by 25% or 50%, or who knows what, to account for the differences in attentiveness that probably apply?

  2. Joe Mandese from MediaPost, February 7, 2017 at 10:18 a.m.

    Ed, I agree with your semantics. "Digital" is what Nielsen calls it. For the record, I wrote a piece sometime ago pointing out that virtually all of television viewing is now done digitally. 100% of the broadcast spectrum is digital. All satellite distribution is digital. I think almost all cable and telco is digital. And the vast majority of TV sets are either digital or utilize some kind of digital add-on device. I think it's time we redefined some terms for the modern age of media.

  3. Robert Dahill from GaleForce Digital, February 7, 2017 at noon

    Is this therefore a mulit platform rating as it's show specific in real time?   

  4. larry towers from nyu replied, February 7, 2017 at 7:55 p.m.

    Ed I don't know about you, but I haven't experienced any TV environment in the last 10 years, excepting perhaps visiting old age homes, where there is any solid attentiveness in the viewing experience. In fact in the era of multiple devices, most people are probably turning to their personal devices during commercial breaks on traditional linear media. On the other hand most people do not juggle multiple personal devices so content viewed on them may invite more attentitiveness.

  5. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 8, 2017 at 8:27 a.m.

    Lary, I have been tracking studies on viewer atentiveness for decades and all I can say about it is this. Yes, it's true that older viewers----not just those in old age homes---do tend to watch TV more attentively than younger people for a variety of reasons. However young people are riveted with attention when the content in question is of real interest to them---such as an "edgy" new suspense or sci-fi series that they find unusual and is much discussed among their circle of friends. Young viewers are also much less tolerant of repetition, so they quickly lose interest and attentiveness fades whan a series employes the same devices or highly predictable outcomes episode after episode. If we had some sort of valid way to observe and record viewer attentiveness as manifested by what "viewers" were looking at, I would guess that a typical "eyes on screen" ratio per minute of content would be about 55-60% for a young adult compared to 65-70% for an older adult---with variations around these norms depending on what content is involved and much lower figures for commercials as opposed to programming.

    Regarding "multitasking" it is my view that you are either "watching" the TV screen at a given moment in time or you aren't. Your typical young person may be surrounded with tablets, smartphones, who knows what, while "watching TV" but the notion that most viewing---say 40 minutes out of every hour----involves the "use" of other devices simply means that the "viewer" is not really "watching" the TV show with any degree of continuity. I do not believe that this level of disruption on an every show or every day basis is remotely close to the truth. Sure, people multitask to some degree----but not most of the time---as some mistakenly believe.

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