Nielsen To Measure Audiences For Individual Linear TV Ads, Eventually Replacing C3

Nielsen says it will begin measuring audiences for individual national linear TV commercials starting in first-half 2022 —marking the end of the decades-old C3 system that measures average viewership of ad minutes within a program over three days.

Nielsen will measure via watermarks that can be added efficiently to “the vast majority” of national linear ads through an expanded relationship with creative logistics provider Extreme Reach (ER).

As a first step, in early 2022, Nielsen will enhance its process for collecting and crediting watermarks, enabling the detection of watermarks more frequently within a given minute, allowing for credit of shorter duration events, such as individual ads, according to the company.

For ads without the ER-enabled watermarks, Nielsen will use content signatures from its Gracenote watermarking unit. These will allow Nielsen to credit shorter durations “in a more robust way” across several of its metering technologies, including GTAM, Nano and Portable People Meter (PPM) wearable devices, says Nielsen.

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This will be the first time Nielsen has used Gracenote as part of its audience measurement system, but the company has said that Gracenote is poised for growth across streaming services, online gaming and “metaverse opportunities.”

“Currently, buyers and sellers transact on ‘C3’, which provides the average of all commercial minutes within a program, Kim Gilberti, senior vice president of product management at Nielsen, told Yahoo News. "As we move to a world where linear television is becoming more addressable, it’s important to be able to post on the individual ads that were served. Nielsen’s technology advancement gives us the ability to detect and credit tuning events at this lower level of granularity. Over time, we anticipate that buyers and sellers will begin to transact against the individual commercial metrics of a given ad, rather than maintain the current construct of looking at the average of all minutes within a program.”

Individual ad measurement is another step in Nielsen’s development of its Nielsen One multimedia audience measurement system—currently in internal testing and set to start client tests next year.

“By streamlining its crediting systems and migrating them to a cloud-based infrastructure, Nielsen will not only have more flexibility and scalability, but it will also be able to deliver to clients two streams of data: currency measurement as we know it today and, in parallel, Nielsen Individual Commercial Metrics that will be fundamental for Nielsen One,” the company stated.

NBCUniversal and other media companies, along with ad buyers, have intensified their push for new audience measurement alternatives since undercounting issues caused the Media Rating Council to suspend its accreditation of Nielsen’s national and local TV measurement services.

1 comment about "Nielsen To Measure Audiences For Individual Linear TV Ads, Eventually Replacing C3".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, November 22, 2021 at 11 a.m.

    Karlene, I'm not sure I get the connection between C3 and what Nielsen says it plans to do. C3 merely involves tabulating a commercial minutes' "audience" that takes into account delayed viewing for three days. In fact a growing number of upfront buys were C7 not C3.

    What Nielsen is saying---I think--is that it will try to provide "viewing" data for each individual commercial in an episode of a program---though how this will be reported  remains unclear. The real problem---unless Nielsen proposes to add some sort of attentiveness measurement---is that the resulting data will not be very sensitive as Nielsen has no way of knowing whether a claimed program viewer was present and watching---eyes-on-screen---any commercial. So don't look for major differences between individual commercial "audience" tallies in the same break as the system will tend to produce roughly the same levels of "viewing" for all of them.

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