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Nielsen Moves Ratings Data Into the Cloud With Amazon

Nielsen has seen the future and it is in the cloud.

The measurement company has made a deal to move its national television ratings--used to buy and sell $70 billion worth of advertising in the U.S. per year--from its own servers to the cloud with Amazon Web Services.

Nielsen said that operating from the cloud will make the company more flexible, more responsive to clients and able to more quickly roll out new products and services.The technology will help Nielsen take advantage of technologies including machine learning and artificial intelligence.

“Nielsen is committed to really modernizing our infrastructure and our platform,” said Scott Brown, head of product, TV and Audio, at Nielsen.

Nielsen's clients are seeking data that goes beyond traditional measures and demographics. More viewing is taking place on digital devices and that needs to be measured. And advertisers need information on viewers' behavior so that they can target the consumers most likely to buy their products.

“The cloud is all about flexibility and with the way the industry is going in terms of need more granular insights, needing bigger data sets to augment data already available. The flexibility is really critical for us,” Brown said. “That’s the reason why we’re doing this: because we want to be able to meet client needs, to be able to scale solutions for them in a better and quicker way and, ultimately, deliver more value with the technology that we have.”

Brown said that with Amazon Web Services providing technology, Nielsen will be spend less on the old infrastructure and focus its investments on where the industry is going.

“This is huge from a foundational perspective. It enables us to consider ideas with our clients that just weren’t even on the table before. This gives us the runway to listen to our client feedback and then pivot more quickly to be able to deliver access quicker or deliver the more granular data of the future.”

The move comes at a time when Nielsen’s board is considering strategic alternatives, including selling off the company or some of its operations.

Nielsen works with other cloud providers, but for this situation, Amazon was a great fit, Brown said. Nielsen and Amazon work together in a number of ways, particularly with Amazon becoming a bigger player in the media and advertising business.

“AWS’s breadth of services, scalability and reliable infrastructure will help Nielsen drive product innovation that offers new ways for their network, publisher, agency and advertising customers to monetize their data,” said Stephen Orban, general manager at AWS.

Nielsen envisions moving more of its businesses to a cloud-native architecture across the board. cloud architecture.

“When I’m sitting down looking at a product roadmap, it excites me because I know we’ll be able to go much faster than ever before,” said Brown, previously chief technology officer for Nielsen's Watch division. It’s exciting to know that this is a new Nielsen, that we’re going to launch products with more velocity that are more current, that are more agile to our clients needs. It kind of speaks to the inner geek.”