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Nielsen Hears From Clients on TV Everywhere Future

TV industry researchers and digital distribution executives are pressing Nielsen to roll out internet meters as part of the national panel as quickly as possible. Nielsen convened a meeting today October 16 at New York’s Harvard Club to hear what the majority of clients’ priorities are as online viewing gets set for take-off.

“We’re hearing from the clients that the timing is right to begin a broad roll out of internet meters,” said Sara Ericson, president of media client services at Nielsen who added that clients are also wary of affecting the quality of the TV panel. The fear is the more demands put on the existing panelists – such as tracking their Internet use – the greater the likelihood of them dropping out of the TV panel altogether.

According to executives present, CBS Research chief David Poltrack asked Nielsen about its ability to track video viewing from the workplace. Nielsen said it can track use of portable laptop computers but not work PCs. Turner Broadcasting research chief Jack Wachslag observed that the only reason to move content online is if it is supported by a currency. That is still not the case.

Not everyone sees the need for speed, however. Some TV outlets and agencies are concerned about how Nielsen will count ratings if Web video carries a different configuration of advertising. Others such as sports channels have a completely different online strategy and still others want to continue a model of ad insertion and don’t know how that would be counted.

“We do need to look at our time table,” acknowledged Ms. Erichson. “The meeting was about making sure we align decisions with business needs.”

Nielsen currently has 375 internet meters as part of its national TV people meter. Complete installation is scheduled for 2010 and full implementation is expected in 2011.