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Nielsen Extends Watermarks to Second-Screen Apps

Nielsen is making its watermarks -- digital codes embedded in programs and commercials that help it identify pieces of content -- available to clients looking to implement second-screen applications and other engagement strategies.

The measurement company said it is working with Digimarc Corp., which can create additional watermarks to bookmark specific elements of the content, such as a product placement or the appearance of a character; that enables second-screen experiences that closely track in real-time what the viewer is watching. Networks are using second-screen experiences to harness multitaskers and increase engagement with both programs and advertising. 

Some marketers use applications like Shazam to coordinate second-screen experiences. Kelly Abcarian, senior VP for global watch product leadership at Nielsen, said the watermarks -- which help Nielsen identify the programs viewers are watching as it calculates ratings -- are more efficient at identifying content, in turn making applications run more smoothly. 

“Our clients have asked us how they can leverage the watermarking footprint they have inside the telecast to do things beyond audience measurement,” Abcarian said.

Using the watermarks to coordinate second-screen apps won’t disrupt Nielsen’s measurement activities, the company said.


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.