Nielsen Speeding Up Single-Source Measurement Plan

Will fold Web viewing into TV sample by August 2010
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Nielsen is fast-forwarding its plan to monitor viewers' Web habits in order to help clients understand, among other things, whether their advertising or TV promotion is working. The company announced Dec. 1 that it will complete a full roll out of Internet measurement as part of its existing TV panel by August 31, 2010.

Separately, the measurement company will announce in the coming weeks a timeline for tracking Web video viewing that will ultimately help media companies and agencies see viewing behavior between the TV and Web more clearly.

The end game would be monetizing Web viewing of TV more effectively as Nielsen prepares to develop a new model for C3, or commercial ratings, that would include shows watched online. The idea of tracking consumers' media habits on TV and online is referred to as single-source measurement. Nielsen already tracks Web viewing, as do ComScore and other players, via separate services that are not associated with its TV sample.

Nielsen held a meeting with clients in October to hear their thoughts on where Nielsen ought to be putting its efforts in terms of tracking single-source Web usage. The overwhelming feedback was that Nielsen move faster.

While the August 2010 target date might be slightly later than some cable entertainment channels had hoped for, since their peak viewing occurs in June, it is still a radical improvement on the previous timeline of year's end. The company will begin adding to the existing 375 TV and PC homes on December 23 and has drafted extra staff in order to meet the more aggressive timeline.

The meters work by requiring panelists to log in so that their every Web move can be attributed to a single individual. The meters will also have the ability to recognize Nielsen's audio codes.

"It is an estimate but we expect to [track] 20,000 people and 7,500 households and they would account for 12,000 computers," said Sara Erichson, president of Media Cleint Services North America, in an interview.

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