Nielsen ratings expand definition of TV households to include internet-only viewers

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Richard Lawler
February 22nd, 2013
In this article: aereo, hdpostcross, nielsen, ratings, tv
Nielsen ratings expand definition of TV households to include internet-only viewers

The Nielsen Company has monitored TV audiences since 1950, but soon it will expand that definition from solely households with antenna, cable or satellite access, but also those that have dropped those options but still get video over the internet. Reflecting the changing times, the move was first noted by The Hollywood Reporter and confirmed later by company executives to the New York Times and LA Times. Nielsen hinted at changes two years ago when TV ownership dropped for the first time in decades, which may turn around since the new definition includes viewers with internet-connected TVs, and could go further to include viewers with just a tablet or laptop. According to senior VP Pat McDonough, that means views over services like Aereo can be counted, since they still contain advertisements, which is what broadcasters rely on the ratings for, unlike ad-free Netflix or Hulu streams with different ads. Because of that, it seems unlikely the change will boost the numbers of internet darlings like Community or Arrested Development, but we can dream, right?

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