Nielsen Shutters Place-Based Audience Measurement Service

Nielsen has shut down its 12-year-old place-based video networks measurement service.

The move comes as many place-based media venues have been challenged by shutdowns or sparse attendance due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“Nielsen regularly reviews our product portfolio to ensure we have the right mix of capabilities and services to address the needs of our clients today and in the future. As a result, effective October 1, 2020, we have decided to exit our U.S.-based analytic services that estimates audience traffic for cinema and place-based networks, such as airports, bars, restaurants, hospitals and office buildings," Nielsen said in a statement provided to MediaDailyNews, noting: "This service is different from our currency-grade out-of-home measurement that estimates viewing of content done outside of the home. The decision to close this branch of analytics is aligned to the company’s portfolio optimization strategy, streamlining focus and maximizing efforts against stated strategic priorities."  

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The service, which grew out of custom studies commissioned by place-based networks, became a regular syndicated Nielsen service in 2008, "Nielsen On Location," and even published so-called pocketpieces, as well as a variety of tracking reports.

In recent years, data from the service was incorporated in Nielsen's "Total Audience Reports," including estimates for the reach of cinema advertising audiences.

In Nielsen's first-quarter 2019 Total Audience Report, it estimated that movie theaters reached 56% of Americans ages 18-34, 26% of those ages 35-49, and 18% of those 50 years or older during the average week, which compared competitively with other major video advertising platforms in the U.S.

While that study did not report comparable data for other place-based video networks, many -- especially those operating in on-premise locations such as bars, restaurants, health clubs, and inside office buildings and elevators -- have been significantly challenged by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"We view this as an opportunity to take our industry measurement to a higher standard and we thus look forward to having an extremely advanced, state of the art research currency," Barry Frey, president and CEO of the DPAA (Digital Place-based Advertising Association) said in a statement, noting that there are "myriad" third-party data sources for measuring place-based video advertising.

7 comments about "Nielsen Shutters Place-Based Audience Measurement Service".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 10, 2020 at 5:02 p.m.

    Joe, as the percentages all add to 100% I assume that they are audience comp percentages not reach projections.

  2. Steve Schildwachter from BrightStar Care, September 10, 2020 at 5:14 p.m.

    Bummer.  This category needs all the help it can get.  The DPAA is a terrific industry association, but we're still in early stages.

  3. Tom Tyler from GCTVTexas replied, September 10, 2020 at 5:39 p.m.

    Has the industry established its own "Neilsens" as yet?

  4. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 10, 2020 at 5:46 p.m.

    Steve, Nielsen is a business and has to decide such matters from a business viewpoint. If the various place based ad-sellers won't---or can't---- pay enough to support such a service---which may be the case, especially due to the negative impact of COVID-19, why should Nielsen operate it at a loss? Also, the ad support for many place based venues comes largely from local or regional marketers who may not require the kind of audience documentation that national buyers would demand. Yes, it's a bummer as you say, and there may be more bummers to come---for example I can envision a time when small market TV and radio stations run into similar problems. I hope that I am wrong on this---but some rethinking about new ways to obtain audience data may be in order.

  5. Diane Williams from Nielsen, September 10, 2020 at 6:13 p.m.

    Quick Clarificaton: The chart is showing audience composition. 56% of those who visit a cinema during an average week are aged 18-34. So if 12 million people see a movie during an average week, that equates to 6.7 million viewers aged 18-34.

    The article states cinemas reach 56% of 18-34 year olds during an average week, since there are roughly 73 million 18-34 year olds in the U.S. that would equal 40.8 million viewers. The title on the report chart is confusing.

  6. Ted Faraone from Faraone Communications, September 11, 2020 at 8:40 a.m.

    Seems to me that due to the coronavirus closures there is little demand for place-based out-of-home measurement.

  7. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, September 11, 2020 at 11:15 a.m.

    Ted, this was always a problematic business venture for Nielsen and I doubt that it was a profitable one. The place-based category is made up of many diverse and mainly local venues which supply traffic counts and often self-serving  studies on demos  to advertisers but not much else. Attempting to standardize such  information was a good idea but the real need was for evidence that people were actually exposed to ads and got the advertisers' message.You are right about COVID-19 reducing the interest in place-based advertising, hence the need for Nielsen's service at this point in time, but it goes deeper than that.This  Mulligan's Stew aggregation of ad sellers was never united on what information was important or worth paying for from an independent source so now they will just go along their separate ways---as before.

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