Nielsen Offers Ratings for Television viewed Across Platforms

by Carolyn Braff

Despite what their name implies, television shows are not always viewed on a television, and Nielsen Media Research, through its Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement Initiative (A2/M2), has begun to acknowledge this trend. Nielsen will now provide ratings information for television programming viewed on various platforms, both inside the home and out, including Internet, cell phone, iPod, handheld computer, and other personal mobile devices.

A key component of the A2/M2 initiative is incorporating measurements of online streaming video and Internet television into Nielsen s People Meter samples. This summer, A2/M2 will begin testing new software meters to measure video viewed on portable devices, and the company plans to put together a 400-person test panel of iPod users by the end of the year. Nielsen expects to create a single electronic measurement of TV viewing across multiple platforms by the 2007-08 broadcast season.

As digital distribution of television transforms the way our clients do business, Nielsen is keeping pace with new ways of measuring TV wherever it is viewed, said Susan Whiting, Nielsen president and CEO. A2/M2 is the result of extensive consultation with clients, who told us clearly that we should follow the video and deliver integrated measurement of all television-like content regardless of the platform.

As part of the initiative, Nielsen is working to replace paper diary recording in smaller media markets with electronic measurements, and the company has promised to have electronic measurement of TV viewing in every market by 2011. Nielsen will also begin conducting tests to determine how to quantitatively and qualitatively measure viewer engagement during a television broadcast.