Nielsen: TV Industry Needs New Ratings Standards

Nielsen, increasingly under fire for falling short as the industry standard for television ratings, said today that the TV industry needs to find new ways to measure "total audience" and advertising campaign views.

Earlier Thursday, Viacom, which has squabbled with Nielsen over alleged past under-counting of viewers for Nickelodeon, said it aimed to increase the share of advertising revenue that comes from views on devices that Nielsen doesn't currently measure, such as game platforms. That was after Nielsen caught some grief in October when it disclosed that a glitch that went undiscovered for more than six months had counted viewers against the wrong networks, prompting a restatement of ratings, though Nielsen said the errors were slight.

Then this afternoon, in a blog post, Megan Clarken, Nielsen's executive vice president of global product leadership, said it was time for a new consensus among the company and clients to support these new standards:

 *   Total audience, which combines the total audience for a program or content regardless of the mode of access, including SVOD.
 *   Total commercial, which includes ratings for the ad campaign regardless of where and how it's consumed, providing flexibility for dynamic ad insertion.

"Our goal is to create a total measurement of all content and all ads— regardless of how they are accessed and the ad model that they're supporting. Nielsen's vision is to create an environment where all video content can be consistently measured with ratings for both the content and the advertising," Clarken said.

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Kent has been a journalist, writer and editor at Multichannel News since 1994 and with Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He is a good point of contact for anything editorial at the publications and for Before joining Multichannel News he had been a newspaper reporter with publications including The Washington Times, The Poughkeepsie (N.Y.) Journal and North County News.