Nielsen Proceeding With 'Limited' Total Content Ratings Rollout

After a meeting with clients, Nielsen said it will proceed with the March rollout of its controversial Total Content Ratings, but it will allow the networks to limit what data is distributed to media agencies.

Networks, led by NBCUniversal, had asked Nielsen to delay the launch, noting that many sources of viewing were not being included in the new metric.

Nielsen's response was to limit the data and the way it will be used. Networks will only be able to distribute data about themselves—not competitive data. They will be able to pick what platforms and devices are included and that data will be the data that is received by media agencies.

"We've long known there is a great deal of viewing that simply doesn't get captured through traditional measurement tools. That is why at Turner we've been expanding our data insights to include a wider range of tools that capture viewer engagement across all platforms to provide a more complete picture of the consumer experience," said David Levy, president of Turner Broadcasting. "While it's important for Nielsen to move as quickly as possible, it's paramount that the data is complete before any syndicated service is launched and used in the marketplace."

The content ratings are separate from the ad ratings that are used to buy and sell commercials.

New potential ad buying currencies were discussed at the meeting. GroupM is working with the Video Advertising Bureau on what they call "Unified C7," which would provide a commercial rating across a broader range of linear and non-linear viewing.

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.