Nielsen preparing 'Digital Program Ratings' pilot program to track streaming viewers

According to the Wall Street Journal, Nielsen's TV ratings are about to get some company, with a system that covers internet watchers. A "Nielsen Digital Program Ratings" pilot program will debut with participation from NBC, Fox, ABC, Univision, Discovery and A&E, tracking the viewership of streaming video they post on their websites. AOL (parent company of Engadget) is also reported to be participating, as the networks compare the data to their internal statistics before the ratings system gets a wider rollout. Of course, even the system they're testing will only jump so far into the future -- while it will track viewing on computers, it's still leaving out phones and tablets. Networks want to track anywhere content is viewed -- one of the issues we've been told they have with tech like Aereo or TWC TV -- to sell ads against it, we'll wait for more details to see if they'll have any success extending the current model to other types of screens.

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NIELSEN EXPANDS DIGITAL MEASUREMENT WITH PILOT PROGRAM FOR NEW CONTENT RATINGS

04.30.2013

A+E, ABC, AOL, CBS, The CW, Discovery Communications, FOX, NBC and Univision Participate in Trial of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings to Measure Digital Audiences for TV Programming
New York, NY – April 30, 2013 – Today Nielsen announced a pilot program for Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, which will measure audiences for TV content viewed online. A+E, ABC, AOL, CBS, The CW, Discovery Communications, FOX, NBC and Univision have all signed on to participate in this test, which will begin in May and run through July. Nielsen is a global provider of information and insights into what consumers watch and buy.

Nielsen Digital Program Ratings leverage the same measurement methodology used in Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings™, which delivers comprehensive, TV-comparable overnight metrics for online advertising campaigns. The pilot for Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will provide similar overnight audience data, including unique audience, stream counts and reach by age and gender for TV programming viewed online. Together, Nielsen Digital Program Ratings and Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings offer a more holistic view of the online and TV audience for both programming content and associated ad campaigns. The commercial release of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings is targeted for later this year and will include duration weighting of video and reporting of TV-comparable ratings.

"The potential to measure video viewing of specific programs on linear TV as well as the Internet is significant," said Alan Wurtzel, President of Research and Media Development, NBCUniversal. "It's an important step toward reaching the 'holy grail' of true cross-platform measurement."

"The pilot for Nielsen Digital Program Ratings is a major milestone for the industry," said Eric Solomon, SVP for Global Digital Audience Measurement at Nielsen. "As a companion product to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will enable clients to better understand the online audience for their programming by harnessing the same methodology Nielsen already uses to measure the audience for related advertising."

The initial focus of the Nielsen Digital Program Ratings pilot will be measurement of TV content viewed online, with additional content types and devices to be supported in future releases. The pilot program will complete later this summer and will be used to fine-tune Nielsen Digital Program Ratings prior to commercial launch.

Nielsen Digital Program Ratings and Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings use a patent-pending process combining traditional Nielsen TV and online panel data with aggregated, anonymous demographic information from participating online data providers, including Facebook.