Report: Nielsen to Measure Netflix, Amazon

Nielsen will begin measuring viewership for programming streamed via digital services such as Netflix and Amazon in December, according to The Wall Street Journal. The report, which cited client documents reviewed by the financial news service, claims that by analyzing the audio from digital over-the-top feeds, Nielsen will be able to identify the programming being streamed without the cooperation of streaming services.

A statement by Nielsen senior vice president Brian Fuehrer to The Wall Street Journal indicates that the programming measured will be that of existing Nielsen clients.

Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other over-the-top services have long rebuffed calls for them to release viewership data.

Speaking on a panel in February at a Hollywood Radio and Television Society luncheon in Beverly Hills, Netflix chief content officer Ted Sarandos said, “No we don't plan on releasing our metrics.” He then added, “I honestly believe that our ratings success would spin as a negative story to our suppliers, that we have shows that are being watched in greater numbers than are being watched on television.”

At the TCA press tour in July, also in Beverly Hills, Amazon head of comedy Joe Lewis responded to a question about how many people watch the digital service’s shows by saying, “We do know how many. I’m not going to tell you.”