Nielsen Rival Begs Question: Should Online and TV Viewing Be Counted Alike?
The Coalition for Innovative Media Measurement finally unveiled its membership Thursday morning, and while some of the participants say it is wrong to call this group a rival to Nielsen, how can it not be if Nielsen isn’t involved?
The group is being formed with the express notion that whatever media measurement is out there isn’t working and isn’t keeping up with changes in viewing habits. The unspoken piece is that current measurement data is too expensive.
Who’s likely to gain from the existence of the new body? The most obvious winners are the cable and satellite players who own the set-top box data, which may finally — assuming privacy hurdles are cleared — have a real market. Other winners may be TiVo or Rentrak, perhaps even Canoe Ventures.
To me, the heart of the matter is whether a viewer of TV content online, or on a mobile phone, can be equated equally with a Nielsen TV rating. Should an advertiser pay the same rate, whether I’m watching 30 Rock on Hulu or on NBC? Weigh in with your own feelings in our comments section.
The answer to the question is key for broadcast networks, which lost 40% of 18-49 year-old live viewers in August, compared to cable networks, which were up 2% year-on-year, according to a Morgan Stanley report out Sept. 9. Because of comparisons with the Olympics, NBC was down 73% for the month.
NBC might be bottom of the pile when it comes to traditional viewing, but when one looks at the huge success shows such as 30 Rock and The Office have either in DVR playback or in online viewing or iTunes downloads, its easy to see why NBC Universal’s research chief Alan Wurtzel wants to get this particular show on the road.