Nielsen Adds STB, Smart TV Data for Addressable Ads

A family living room with Vizio
(Image credit: Vizio)

In an increasingly complicated media environment, Nielsen officially announced it will be adding data from 55 million set-top boxes and smart TVs to its national TV currency, allowing it to measure addressable advertising.

The move is one of several Nielsen told customers it would be making at its national client meeting last month.

Also Read: Nielsen Sheds Unit as It Gears Up for Big Data

Nielsen's logo

(Image credit: Nielsen)

The addition of big data to Nielsen's national TV measurement will enable critical elements of its advanced TV strategy, which also includes measurement of connected TV (CTV) apps and devices. Nielsen intends to deliver holistic, cross-media metrics across all premium video.

Nielsen will also be expanding its streaming ratings to provide daily data on a bigger group of services, including ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Fox’s Tubi. And it will be rolling out reports to give advertisers more information about the diversity of programming they might be sponsoring.

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More advertisers are looking to use data to target ads at specific consumers and technology is allowing distributors to address ads to individual households and devices. In order for the addressable advertising business to scale, industry executives have been looking for more granular measurement than the panel of 40,000 Nielsen families can provide.

With the additional data, Nielsen will be measuring addressable campaigns being delivered by AT&T’s DirecTV, Dish and Nielsen Advanced Advertising, plus campaigns on Vizio sets using the open addressable standard developed by the Project OAR consortium.

Nielsen expects to make preview data available in the first half of 2021. The data will show how many people in the target audience saw an ad addressed specifically to them. It will also count the remaining viewers during that commercial slot who saw a different ad delivered as part of the traditional linear feed. 

For now, Nielsen will continue to use C3 and C7, which measure the average of the commercial minutes within a program. But it has told clients it is working on delivering exact commercial ratings for each individual spot.

“As TV continues to become more digital in nature, there is greater demand for comprehensive independent measurement of reach and frequency that’s scaled across linear and advanced TV,” said Scott Brown, GM of audience measurement at Nielsen. “Addressable TV advertising can only scale if media buyers and sellers can monetize those impressions. By marrying big data with Nielsen’s high-quality panels, we can ensure all metrics are representative, accurate and trusted. This is a critical first step to help scale addressability and lay the foundation for a holistic cross media measurement system.”  

Nielsen said the new measurement system will provide more demographic and exposure measurement by incorporating the new data sources and calibrating them against its panels to correct for bias and provide more granular person level insights.

Also Read: Cable Adds a Playbook to Addressable Ad Push

DirecTV and Dish have been offering addressable advertising for some time.

“This expansion of our relationship could not come at a more important time for the industry,” said Rick Welday, executive VP and general manager, AT&T Broadband and Video. “The combination of our expertise and leadership in addressable advertising with Nielsen’s decades of experience as the backbone of TV measurement will unlock the power of National Addressable TV. It is a win for national TV networks, a win for integrity in measurement, and most importantly, a win for advertisers.”

“Nielsen has been a strategic partner of Dish Network for several years and we’re excited to expand this relationship to give advertisers and programmers the option to reliably measure addressable campaigns that leverage our data and tech stack,” said Kemal Bokhari, Dish Media general manager of data & analytics. “We continue to advocate for innovation and collaboration across the industry, and this is a great step toward that vision.”

Also Read: iSpot Measures Addressable Ads Under Project OAR Specs

Vizio and other smart TV makers have been both selling data about viewing behavior as well as selling advertising to marketers looking to reach the growing number of over-the-top streaming viewers. Vizio led the formation of Project OAR, which aims to develop open standard for addressable advertising. 

“The goal from the outset of OAR has been to help the industry rapidly evolve the technology and infrastructure to make linear advertising more responsive and relevant to the interests of the viewer while giving inventory owners and brands a better value proposition for TV on the whole,” said Adam Gaynor, VP of network partnerships and head of addressable at Vizio. “We are encouraged that Nielsen is making the investment to measure addressable advertising at scale as it will accelerate industry adoption and ultimately provide a better experience to viewers at home.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.