Industry Insider: TV Ratings Terminology and Measurements- Part Two

In part one of this blog series (click here to read part one), we talked about how media buyers evaluate programs based on measurements such as ratings and shares. However, with today’s fragmented viewership across different devices and the rise of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and On Demand, the industry has not been able to capture viewing statistics in the same way. So, in part two, we’re going to discuss how the industry is beginning to measure these modern streaming services.

The Difficulty of Capturing Today’s Viewership Data

When the TV set was the only place to watch TV content, measuring viewership was easier. As we talked about in the last post, a representative number of viewers would record what they watched over a period of time. Now, people watch shows on their phones, laptops, tablets, and TV and programs range from YouTube videos to network dramas and streaming shows.

In addition, the popularity of using TV-connected devices such as Roku and game consoles is growing. This has had an impact on how people view content on the TV set and how media companies provide services. Plus, many streaming companies don’t release viewer statistics.

For advertisers, this creates an issue of transparency. They want to estimate how many people have seen their ads, but online shows often have different advertising than their TV counterparts and some don’t have any at all. Traditional TV ratings do not cover streaming or mobile viewing nor do they portray an accurate picture of how many people are actually watching a given show, making it hard to track a program’s complete audience.

Nielson’s New Service: Subscription Video On Demand (SVOD) Content Ratings

Nielson has been trying to expand its capabilities to cover the streaming market for a few years. The company recently announced its new SVOD service, which will measure streaming service programs in a way that’s comparable to linear TV. This will show its media subscribers how many people are watching the titles streaming on Netflix, including original programming.

Measurements will include ratings, reach, frequency and segmentation reporting. This means that the service won’t just track the number of people streaming, but also the audience and household makeup, such as age and gender. In addition, it will help content producers track their shows’ full lifecycle, from airing on TV, to time-shifted viewing via DVRs and other on-demand options and streaming services.

The service is still not perfect; for instance, it does not yet measure how many people watch Netflix programming on mobile devices. But, it’s one step closer to providing the transparency that advertisers and producers need. The offering will initially only work with Netflix, but Nielson soon expects to add Amazon Prime and Hulu. The company has already lined up a number of testers, including NBCUniversal, Disney-ABC, A+E Networks, Lionsgate, and Warner Bros. Television.


Sources: Fortune, Videa, howstuffworks