Nielsen Gets Set-Top Viewer Data From Dish

Deal dilutes rival comScore’s census strategy
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Nielsen made a deal with Dish Network that will let it use set-top box data from satellite subscribers nationwide into its audience measurement systems.

Last week, Dish made a deal extending its relationship with comScore, which has based its audience measurement strategy on its ability to analyze set-top box data from distributors like Dish. comScore is attempting to challenge Nielsen's leadership in the audience measurement field in part by taking a census-level approach.

Nielsen says it will be able to make better use of the set-top box data by calibrating it with the information it gets from its recently expanded viewer panel. That will make Nielsen’s numbers more granular and increase its ability to generate demographic information.

“We are aggressively investing and enhancing our local and national TV measurement business by offering clients an innovative suite of solutions that provide higher quality insights and specificity. Dish's set-top-box data is the first nationwide dataset to be integrated with our panel data, reaching the perfect balance of deep viewing characteristics and the granularity of large datasets,” said Steve Hasker, chief operating officer, Nielsen. “As the global leader in audience measurement, this is another step in our efforts to integrate big data into our portfolio and our Total Audience efforts.”

Nielsen will first use the data from Dish in its local measurement service across all 210 designated market areas. Rentrak, which was acquired by comScore earlier this year, had made big inroads in the local station measurement business with its set-top box based measurement strategy.

The agreement will also enable Nielsen to leverage Dish’s set-top-box data to complement many of its local and national products including Nielsen Scarborough, Nielsen Data Fusion, Nielsen Media Custom Insights, and multiple national insight services. Additionally, Nielsen will also have the ability to use set-top-box data for its suite of marketing effectiveness and return on ad sales solutions, including consumer packaged goods, retail and auto.

“Nielsen is the industry’s currency and adding aggregated DISH set-top-box viewership data to Nielsen’s products will enhance the granularity and clarity of the insights that Nielsen provides,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish executive VP of marketing, programming and media sales. “This will allow advertisers and networks to improve their marketing and programming decisions even as television viewing itself becomes more fragmented.”

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