The decisions made by the [What Nielsen Measures] committee are not binding but a source at one of the big four networks was ecstatic at the prospect of expanded measurement tools. The networks for years have complained that total viewing of their shows isn’t being captured by traditional ratings measurements. This is a move to correct that.
By September 2013, when the next TV season begins, Nielsen expects to have in place new hardware and software tools in the nearly 23,000 TV homes it samples. Those measurement systems will capture viewership not just from the 75 percent of homes that rely on cable, satellite and over the air broadcasts but also viewing via devices that deliver video from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, from so-called over-the-top services and from TV enabled game systems like the X-Box and PlayStation.
While some use of iPads and other tablets that receive broadband in the home will be included in the first phase of measurement improvements, a second phase is envisioned to include such devices in a more comprehensive fashion. The second phase is envisioned to roll out on a slower timetable, according to sources, will the overall goal to attempt to capture video viewing of any kind from any source.
Nielsen is said to have an internal goal of being able to measure video viewing on an iPad by the end of this year, a process in which the company will work closely with its clients.
This is a good example of how operationalization and measurement are not just for scientists. Here, possibly millions of dollars are at stake in advertising. It would be interesting to hear the advertisers’ side of the story; higher numbers could mean they pay more but it would also mean that they can reach bigger audiences.
So can we assume that better measurement means we will find that Americans watch more TV than we currently think?