Nielsen to release out-of-home viewing data

Nielsen’s long-awaited service to track out-of-home viewing — for example, watching sports in bars, hotels and gyms — will begin yielding data this summer, a new report said last week. The Nielsen system offers the prospect of measuring viewing where networks have long argued they don’t receive credit from advertisers.

The Nielsen Out-of-Home Report — a joint venture with Integrated Media Measurement (IMMI) — was announced in April 2007 with an expected launch in September, but it was delayed until this summer. This will be the first time that Nielsen has provided any out-of-home viewing data.

The data, which covers viewing of national broadcast and cable networks, will be culled from a panel of 4700 people, according to a report in “MediaDaily Planner.” Panelists carry cell phones from AT&T with software that allows them to track their exposure to programs. The participants receive $50 a month for participation.

In addition to the national service, Nielsen will begin offering out-of-home data in six local markets by the end of the third quarter, according to a presentation by Kevin Svenningsen, a Nielsen senior VP, at the recent Promax industry conference.

The six local markets — with 500 panelists each — being tracked are New York, Chicago, Los Angeles, Miami, Houston and Denver.

About 8 percent of viewing takes place outside of the home. If the networks somehow are able to aggregate out-of-home viewing with what happens in the home — and persuade advertisers to pay for the added ratings — that could give them a significant financial lift. “MediaDaily Planner” said that would likely be a boon in regards to sports programming (particularly for ESPN), because of the proliferation of sports viewing in bars.