Nielsen Expands OOH Viewing Measure, Sports TV Benefit

Nielsen is expanding out-of-home measurement coverage this year to represent 100% of U.S. TV households -- up from 65% -- which will boost overall viewing metrics, especially for live sports TV programming.

Out of home viewing -- which comes from airports, hotels, bars and restaurants -- is measured through Portable People Meter wearable technology, and enables buy- and sell-side clients to track viewer consumption regardless of the platform, screen or location.

Currently there are 31,000 households represented in the sample. Another 2,000 are being added.

Out-of-home viewing -- which can take place in bars, restaurants, hotels and other non-home locations -- is particularly important when it comes to live sports viewing.



In 2023, Nielsen says, U.S. sports fans spent more than 1.7 trillion minutes watching games from the five most-watched sports leagues.

About a decade ago, Nielsen started capturing out-of-home viewing. In 2020, it began including those OOH viewers in its national TV ratings.

Streaming TV has now grown to a 36% share of total television usage as of December 2023, with live sports and other live viewing on both linear and streaming showing growth.

Nielsen plans to provide impact data in Q4 2024, in time for Super Bowl LIX.


1 comment about "Nielsen Expands OOH Viewing Measure, Sports TV Benefit".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, February 2, 2024 at 12:07 p.m.

    Wayne, Nielsen does not measure out of home "viewing".  It uses the portable people meter---PPM---system inherited from Arbitron.  A PPM panel member wears---or carries--a small device with him or her all day long, day after day. Whenever this device "hears" an encoded audio signal from an OOH TV program source---meaning that a set is tuned in in the vicinity---it counts the panel member as  a "viewer"---even for commercials. But, unlike the national TV home rating system, where panel members at least indicate that they are "watching" a program when it's channel is tuned to, the OOH PPM's methodology simply  assumes that the carrier is always "viewing"---hence they employ a "passive measurement" system.

    The problem with this is that a much higher proportion of the  "assumed"  OOH "audience" is not watching the screen during an average minutre than is the case  with traditional in-home viewing. For years now, MRI has asked its respondents about the last time they watched each nationally aired TV show, including their degree of attentiveness. When these findings are compared for those who were last time at-home viewers versus OOH viewers the latter uaually describe themselves as having been 50% less attentive ---or worse.  Which is hardly surprising.

    It can be argued that many OOH sets have their sound muted---or lowered---which might cause an understatement of the numbers of sets in use due to the use of an audio signal as the means of identifying set activity. OK. But the assumptuion that OOH set usage is always accompanied by "viewing" remains highly questionable.It's just another example of advertisers paying through the nose to "reach" phantom viewers---but who can blame the sellers for pressing Nielsen to include such "viewers" in it's national TV rating projections as advertisers don't seem to care about such matters. 

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