Cable companies have always known how many households ordered an on-demand movie or boxing match. But beyond that, they haven’t been able to tell you much about the purchaser. Standard operating procedure for the technologically backward cable business, but that may be starting to change.
Nielsen Media Research says it will start measuring video on demand audiences, and that it’s signed its first client — Time Warner’s (TWX) HBO. This a natural progression from Nielsen’s move last year to start measuring DVR usage.
Will it be as big a deal? HBO, which isn’t advertising-supported, is less obsessed with demographics than ad-supported cable and broadcast nets. But HBO knows that homes with VOD churn less than those without–so they’ll use Nielsen data to try to target more programming to keep them happy.
Nielsen’s move may have more impact on Rentrak (RENT), the company that currently compiles and distributes the limited VOD information that the cable companies collect. But Nielsen says it’s not trying to compete with Rentrak but to augment it. We’ll see…
Release after the jump.
NIELSEN TO PROVIDE RATINGS FOR PROGRAMMING ON HBO’S SUBSCRIPTION VIDEO ON DEMAND SERVICES: HBO ON DEMAND AND CINEMAX ON DEMAND
NEW YORK, NY – December 12, 2007 — The Nielsen Company and HBO announced that Nielsen will begin measuring the programming available on HBO’s subscription video on demand (SVOD) services – HBO On Demand and Cinemax on Demand – making HBO the first company to receive television ratings for its on-demand offerings.
By measuring VOD usage through Nielsen’s National People Meter VOD Audience Measurement service, HBO will be able to understand not only how many households are viewing its VOD offerings, but also the demographics of the audiences viewing each specific program.
“Technology has changed the way people watch television and as our customers increasingly use our On Demand products to watch our shows on a timetable of their choosing, it is essential that we understand this growing shift in viewer behaviour,” said Jan Pasquale, Senior Vice President, Research, HBO. “The knowledge gained from this service will enable us to drive additional consumer satisfaction by understanding the appeal of our programming to specific audiences and developing targeted offerings for the full range of our customer base.”
“Clients told us that VOD is a vital part of their business and Nielsen responded with a service that allows them to measure, analyse and understand audience preferences,” said Sara Erichson, Executive Vice President Client Services, Nielsen North America. “We recognise that it is essential to measure media consumption wherever and whenever it occurs, regardless of platform, and our VOD solution provides a way to measure the growing audience for on demand viewing. HBO was instrumental in the development of this service, working with Nielsen engineering and product development to fine-tune the reports and metrics. We’re delighted that they are the first client to use this service.”
Nielsen estimates that 35.1 million households have access to on-demand services. The National People Meter VOD Audience Measurement service was introduced in December of 2006 with demonstration data available to interested clients. It uses patented technology to embed a code or “watermark” in a program to identify specific episode information. The service is based on the same sample that is used to produce all national ratings.
In addition to the National People Meter VOD Audience Measurement service, Nielsen is set to offer clients NORA, a service that tracks transactional data and is based on data collected through cable operators.
About The Nielsen Company
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in marketing information (ACNielsen), media information (Nielsen Media Research), online intelligence (NetRatings and BuzzMetrics), mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter, Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in Haarlem, the Netherlands, and New York, USA. For more information, please visit, HYPERLINK “outbind://65/www.nielsen.com” o “outbind://65/www.nielsen.com” www.nielsen.com
Home Box Office, Inc. is the premium television programming subsidiary of Time Warner Inc., providing two 24-hour pay television services – HBO and Cinemax – to over 40 million U.S. subscribers. The services offer the most popular subscription video on demand products, HBO On Demand and Cinemax On Demand, as well as multiplex channels and HD feeds. Internationally the subscription video on demand products HBO On Demand and HBO Mobile, along with branded joint ventures, bring HBO services to over 50 countries. HBO programming is sold into over 150 countries worldwide. Learn more at HYPERLINK “http://homeboxoffice.com/” homeboxoffice.com.
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