Nielsen Launching Out-of-Home Ratings

Nielsen said that it will use its portable people meters to measure out-of-home viewing for national television clients.

Viewing in bars, restaurants, health clubs and offices can be significant for sports and news networks, and some like CNN and ESPN have already taken steps to get out-of-home viewing included when they sell ads.

"Measuring where consumers watch content, regardless of platform and location, is at the core of Nielsen Total Audience, and this includes out-of-home viewing," said Sara Erichson, executive VP, Nielsen Client Solutions and Audience Insights. "While consumers have always watched TV outside the home, that viewing has not been measured. This new measurement enables both buyers and sellers to understand the incremental reach of advertising messages."

Related: Nielsen Says Bye-Bye Diaries, Hello PPM

Nielsen has been working toward Total Audience Measurement, counting viewership on different platforms and devices.

Nielsen’s out-of-home service will provide both program and commercial ratings when the service launches in April, with date effective to January 2017.

Related: Nielsen Launches Digital Content Ratings

The portable people meters look like cell phones but receive audio cues from programming to indicate that the consumer carrying it is able to watch or hear a program. The out-of-home viewing will be based on data from over 75,000 PPM panelists across 44 local markets, enabling Nielsen to project out-of-home viewing in over half of U.S. population.

"As a leading media company with a diverse portfolio of brands, Turner recognizes that today's audience measurement requires constant innovation to capture the full scope of audience behavior. For brands like CNN and Turner Sports with huge and valuable out-of-home audiences, we need to be able to measure consumption regardless of the platform, screen or location," said Howard Shimmel, chief research officer, Turner. "In collaboration with Nielsen, we were first-to-market using PPM technology for custom out-of-home solutions for CNN. Nielsen's new National TV Out-of-Home Measurement Service will help us drive these capabilities forward."

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Nielsen said it plans to provide subscribing clients with individual day data for program and commercial audience estimates on a weekly basis. While launching as a standalone service, Nielsen plans to incorporate out-of-home viewing directly into its currency national television ratings at a later stage.

"ESPN worked with Nielsen 20 years ago to pioneer the first iteration of out-of-home TV measurement. This new advancement using passive, real-time technology represents a significant leap forward. We know that ESPN is viewed virtually anywhere there is a screen—from sports bars to gyms, hotels and the workplace. While C3, C7 and beyond are useful to measuring catch-up viewing in the home, this new service gives us the ability to capture out-of-home viewing precisely as it happens, and helps us double down on the power and delivery of live sports, while transacting on new, valuable audience segments for advertisers," said Artie Bulgrin, senior VP of global research & analytics, ESPN.

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.