Nielsen Panel To Gauge "Engagement"

Nielsen Media Research plans to introduce a panel to measure “engagement” in TV shows and programs next month, as the ratings giant explores how exactly to gauge what viewers watch and absorb. The participants will be People Meter households reaching the end of their two-year tours with the service.

“Engagement is one of the most important and challenging issues facing our clients, and one of the most talked about concepts in the industry today,” said Sara Erichson, general manager, national services, for Nielsen Media Research. “Everyone wants to better understand how effectively messages are received and how program environment impacts the process. This project will provide new insights into the critical links between the programs and commercials.”

Nielsen unveiled the initiative Tuesday at a two-day clients' meeting in Florida. The company also said it will spend $2.5 million to fund a second year of the Council for Research Excellence, an independent group that addresses research issues.

Nielsen says that more than 300 clients--executives from broadcast and cable networks, ad agencies and syndicators among them--are attending the meetings. Other topics include the roll-out of Nielsen’s Active/Passive meters locally and nationally, and analysis of video-on-demand usage.

Nielsen CEO Susan Whiting will speak to the group on Wednesday.