Nielsen Folds Online into TV Viewing Metric

Ad buyer seeks to preserve live local measurements
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NEW YORK: Two months after a coalition of TV companies formed a group to do cross-platform audience measurement, Nielsen launched an effort to do the same. Nielsen is adding the Internet to its measurement of TV viewing, the company said this week. Beginning immediately, Nielsen will install Internet meters in 7,500 of its TV measurement homes. The data will eventually be used to provide combined ratings.

The TVandPC initiative will take into account the increasing availability of TV shows online, on sites like Hulu.com, on broadcast networks’ own Web sites, and possibly soon on YouTube as well. Nielsen’s TVandPC measurement plan comes on the heels of group created by cable and broadcast networks and distributors to develop cross-platform measurement. This Coalition for Innovative Measurement initially issued a Request for Information on set-top box data, with submissions due tomorrow.

Nielsen remains the primary source of audience measurement for TV networks and stations, though another effort is in the works to fill in the gaps. One of the biggest buyers of TV time on Madison Avenue is looking to preserve live, local measurements, which Nielsen plans to end in January, Media Daily News reported. The Television Bureau of Advertising lobbied the company to do away with live local in favor of ratings that include estimates for time-shifted viewing. Ad firms have deals based on live local going into next year. MDN said as of mid-November, ad firm GroupM was considering legal action against Nielsen. More recently, John Muszynski of Publicis SMGX contacted TV station executives in an effort to reach a mutually agreed-upon local audience measurement arrangement, MDN said.

"Given that we have numerous deals in place for 2010 based on Live-only data, we owe it to our clients to quickly develop an action plan,” he told the outlet. The full article is available here.