At an Oct. 16 meeting, Nielsen will open a conversation with clients, hoping it will help content owners figure out how to gain real compensation for the material they make available online and to mobile devices. And crucially for the measurement outfit, it also wants to make sure it remains at the forefront of the effort.
Nielsen is convening 75 top clients to get ahead of measurement issues that are going to come crashing down swiftly as audience authentication initiatives like TV Everywhere and OnDemand Online begin rolling out nationally. The optimistic time frame for pay-TV companies to begin authenticating subscribers across the nation is summer 2010. Of course, Hulu is already there, but competitors and some industry observers argue that while the video site has been a success at drawing audience, it operates without a viable long-term business model.
With the divergent needs of the industry in mind, Nielsen plans to present its wares and listen to how the industry would like to proceed in melding TV and online video measurement. “Nielsen is measuring three screens, but they have to come up with a combined product that meets the industry’s needs and they want to get out in front of it,” says one senior research executive.
Nielsen wants to figure out the best way to move forward with the creation of a single-source measurement service that would give TV companies credit regardless of where their shows are watched, from mobile phones to online devices to TV. The plan is reminiscent of discussions Nielsen held in 2006 to add DVR usage to its national household sample. Nielsen currently tracks TV viewing habits in 18,000 households; 375 of those homes in the national people meter panel are also equipped with an Internet meter to track video viewing online.