NatGeo Takes Turn as DigitalPlus Guinea Pig

National Geographic Channel will be the first network to use The Nielsen Co.'s DigitalPlus service to measure second-by-second viewership to the channel.

Nielsen will gather data from 330,000 set-top boxes deployed by Charter Communications Inc. in its Los Angeles cluster. This data will complement traditional People Meter ratings data from Nielsen's samples and will allow NatGeo to get a snapshot of viewership of individual commercials and commercial pods on a second-by-second basis as well as commercial creative retention and viewership of standard versus high-definition versions of channels and their content.

"The rapid evolution of the television landscape is causing the media industry to look for better ways to measure viewer engagement with content, as well as retention rates across commercial breaks. DigitalPlus is another example of Nielsen developing measurement tools that address the needs of our clients.." said Jed Meyer, senior vice president, Nielsen DigitalPlus.

Charter has conducted multiple interactive experiments with this group of set-top boxes, enabled with software from Microsoft-owned Navic Networks. For instance, this month it provided viewers with an application that allowed them to delve into multiple screens of background information on the History Channel's Cities of the Underworld series; and has experimented in delivering targeted acquisition ads in a partnership with Starz.