Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Is Nielsen Losing Its Touch

TV ownership, as measured by Nielsen is dropping. Blame it on the economy, on the digital signal transition, and perhaps on cord cutting; regardless, TV ownership is a couple percentage points lower. We have been talking about non-linear video viewing for years now, from DVR to On Demand and from streaming media to digital downloads, content viewership has changed. We are no longer strictly a linear TV Viewer.

For Nielsen, that seems like a brand new revelation. "That second reason (internet viewing) is prompting Nielsen to think about a redefinition of the term 'television household' to include Internet video viewers." Thinking about a redefinition? And notice that Nielsen is still limiting its measurement to internet and still disregarding other viewing platforms. They barely notice DVRs and still can't manage to understand on demand. And so as they think about a new term, "Internet Video Viewer" is still limiting. Advertisers want measurement of their ads in content regardless of how or where it is consumed. DVR, on demand, and streaming all matter. Perhaps it would be better for Nielsen to redefine its definition to reflect all "Content Video Viewers".

Yes, TV ownership has dropped, yet video screen ownership has risen dramatically. Tablets, smartphones, and computers can view both short and long form video. TV screens still represent 96.7% of households and DVR and On Demand content viewership is also rising. Nielsen needs to capture all this information as other research companies are already adapting to this new screen viewership model.