Metrics firm Nielsen calculates the Web traffic numbers it reports to the public by closely following the activity of a subset of users and then extrapolating them to the size of the general population.
The method has its critics; now Web TV site Hulu is one of them.
The New York Times reports that before Nielsen publicly announced Hulu lost 2.1 million unique visitors between February and April, “frustrated” staffers from the startup sent a series of emails to Nielsen, exhorting it to adjust its method of extrapolation.
“The staff members complained that reporters and media buyers frequently used the Nielsen data to describe the audience for Hulu, sometimes in negative ways,” reports the Times.
Hulu, as well as Quantcast and ComScore, says its uniques are much higher than Nielsen reports.
Hulu wouldn’t comment on the email, but SVP Jean-Paul Colaco told the Times: “There is more work that can be done with all of our research providers to ensure that online video metrics are accurately represented to users and clients.”