Nielsen Media Research is telling clients that viewers who watch shows online through "TV Everywhere" services from Comcast, Time Warner Cable and others could be counted toward overall TV ratings -- but that the full implementation of its system to track such Internet services will not be available until early 2011.
Sara Erichson, president of Nielsen's Media Client Services for North America, in a letter Tuesday to clients, wrote that such authentication services "could provide the best way for video content providers to monetize TV programs online" and that online audiences viewing these programs could be included in Nielsen's TV ratings.
But, she added, Nielsen will move cautiously on incorporating TV Everywhere into its total ratings.
"Given that more than $70 billion of television advertising is bought and sold using Nielsen ratings, we are careful not to take any actions that would dilute the reliability of the core television ratings data," Erichson wrote. "Consequently, we are undertaking an extensive evaluation program before fully integrating television and Internet measurement."