Nielsen set to upgrade its TV audience measurement capability

By our News Team | 2021

Aim is to give advertisers, marketing agencies and TV networks detailed viewership figures for specific ads, rather than averages.

TV-audience measurement company Nielsen has confirmed that during the course of next year it will be revamping its measurement parameters for the viewership of ad breaks on TV. 

Its so-called ‘commercial ratings’ are a cornerstone for negotiations between brands, their agencies and television networks. The higher the measured number of viewers in that break, the higher the cost of the slot.

However, in recent times, the various parties involved have been threatening to move away from Nielsen – a doyen of audience measurement – in search of more specific figures rather than broad averages.

Now the company says it has the capability to accurately measure the number of eyes on any particular ad, and will be implementing this during 2022.

Audience measurement

Photo by Karolina Grabowska from Pexels

“Currently, buyers and sellers transact on ‘C3’, which provides the average of all commercial minutes within a program,” explained Kim Gilberti, Senior Vice President of Product Management at Nielsen, in response to emailed questions from Variety, the entertainment industry publication.

Measure audience at ‘lower level of granularity’

“As we move to a world where linear television is becoming more addressable, it’s important to be able to post on the individual ads that were served.  Nielsen’s technology advancement gives us the ability to detect and credit tuning events at this lower level of granularity.”

She added: “Over time, we anticipate that buyers and sellers will begin to transact against the individual commercial metrics of a given ad, rather than maintain the current construct of looking at the average of all minutes within a program.”

In its own commentary on the TV rating situation, Variety said Nielsen’s effort would likely set in motion a race with the media companies to see which side can develop a new working system in a timely manner. 

“The networks are trying to build new measurement concepts tailored for modern audience behaviours, while Nielsen already has infrastructure the networks’ owners may not want to invest heavily in to launch. What’s more, both sides will need to have new efforts backed by the Media Rating Council – an industry organisation that sets measurement standards [in the US] – in order to win over sceptical marketing executives at top [TV] advertisers.”