Nielsen Defends Traditional TV sample
Cable networks could add $2.5 billion in ad revenue if ratings were measured with cable set-top-box data rather than the traditional Nielsen TV sample. That news is contained in an opinion piece penned by Nielsen president of advanced digital services, Manish Bhatia. Data derived from satellite, rather than cable, set-top-boxes, would add only $600 million to cable programmers coffers.Those same satellite black box statistics show that the broadcast networks would collectively have 4% lower ratings and lose $730 million in ad revenue, or $340 million if cable box data were assessed.
The surprising numbers are aimed at demonstrating the large variance in ratings that set-top-box data turns out depending on its source. Nielsen’s Bhatia argues in the piece carried on Nielsen Wire Thursday that while these data points are interesting, the industry would be best served sticking with the traditional Nielsen household sample which tracks 50,000 TV households.
The company is attempting to become the defacto clearing house for such set top box data which is already being used by agencies such as Starcom to help inform buying decisions.
“Larger data sets are not always better than smaller data sets,” according to Bhatia, adding that set-top-box data is not ‘census’ data as it is often referred to, because it doesn’t represent the 11% of households that don’t buy satellite or cable services.
Bhatia added that Nielsen is interested in finding ways to standardize set-top-box data so that ad agencies can use it for more than simply research.