The Nielsen Company wants to its export its TV ratings dominance to digital video. Easy to say, hard to do: The company needs to implement a lot of new technology, and find a lot of people willing to let Nielsen watch what they watch on the web, or on their iPod.
So how are they doing? We checked in with Janice Finkel-Greene, who’s been watching Nielsen’s efforts while she heads research at IPG’s Initiative Media. Janice’s notes:
- Traditional TV: Nielsen uses relatively modern technology to measure national TV ratings, but in most markets, local TV is still measured panelists who try to keep track of what they watch each day using pen and paper diaries. Nielsen is working to change that by expanding the number of electronically-measured markets from 10 to 56. Projected delivery: 2012
- TV on PCs: Nielsen has assembled a 200,000-member panel of computer users to measure streaming video. This is much bigger than the 14,000-home TV sample because, well, there’s a lot more video out there to measure. The company began collecting data in September but still can’t tell if users are watching Heroes on Hulu, or a random clip. That should get better soon. Projected delivery: late 2008 or 2009
- TV on phones: Video on phones could be big, as could video on Apple’s (AAPL) iPod or other devices. Nielsen wants to measure both, so the company wants to hand out gadgets to Nielsen panelists that attach to cell phones and portable devices and record what gets played. Projected delivery: sometime in 2008.
- Out-of-home TV: TV networks have long complained that Nielsen doesn’t count any TV-watching that doesn’t happen at home, like your office, your gym or your neighbourhood bar. That will change this year, Nielsen says — it’s handing out special gadgets to panelists that track what video they’re watching and will add the data to national ratings. Projected delivery: April 2008.
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