Amazon Backs Broadcasters on Audience Measurement in Apps

Amazon execs, in meeting this week with FCC officials, said they support having MVPDs include measurement technology into the apps they create under an FCC proposal for boosting third-party navigation devices and apps in competition to leased set-top boxes.

That is according to a filing with the FCC.

The commission has been meeting with stakeholders this week as FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler tweaks his set-top proposal in advance of a planned Sept. 29 vote.

Related: AFL-CIO Lays Into FCC Set-Top Plan

In the summary of the meetings, Amazon said it noted that the National Association of Broadcasters and others had asked the FCC not to do anything to impede the ability of broadcasters to measure their viewing audiences, the majority of which are viewed over a pay service rather than over-the-air, though that pendulum has been swinging back thanks to cord cutters.

In its comments, NAB said it was imperative that the FCC "require MVPDs to incorporate Measurement Technology in all applications or other interfaces through which subscribers access on a device (e.g.,computer, handheld, mobile or portable, connected device), multichannel video programming or on-demand content containing advertising, such that all transmissions of multichannel video programming accessed through such application or other interface are measurable by such Measurement Technology."

Nielsen, for example, places an audio watermark in broadcast and cable programming that can be read by Peoplemeters and code readers to identify what a viewer is watching.

Nielsen has also told the FCC it should explicitly require that any measurement technology used by content owners be included and passed through by any app or set-top.

Related: NAB to FCC—ATSC 3.0 Is Next Competition Driver

Amazon did not use the word require, but it otherwise associated itself with that request.

"Amazon understands the importance of audience measurement and recognizes the basis for this concern. Accordingly, Amazon encourages the Commission to afford for MVPD incorporation of measurement technology into their apps," the company said. NAB had no comment.

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Amazon has had questions about the FCC set-top proposal, and still has issues, according to the filing, expressing "concern that the proposed licensing and industry group process could delay competition and customer choice," but also offered approaches (Wheeler said he is open to tweaks and adjustments and is talking with stakeholders this week about them) that could garner their support.     

Contributing editor John Eggerton has been an editor and/or writer on media regulation, legislation and policy for over four decades, including covering the FCC, FTC, Congress, the major media trade associations, and the federal courts. In addition to Multichannel News and Broadcasting + Cable, his work has appeared in Radio World, TV Technology, TV Fax, This Week in Consumer Electronics, Variety and the Encyclopedia Britannica.