Simulmedia Teams With Nielsen to Measure Small Cable Nets

Nielsen and Simulmedia say they will work together to measure viewing on cable networks too small for traditional Nielsen ratings.

The research should make it easier for these niche cable networks to sell advertising based on more reliable audience data, the companies say.

Subscribing to Nielsen ratings is expensive for small networks and Nielsen’s data from its national people meter homes doesn't always provide a good picture of who is watching networks with small audiences. Some small cable networks get audience measurement service from Rentrak, which gets its data from set top boxes.

The new service will combine Nielsen’s people meter data with Simulmedia’s set-top box data from 50 million viewers. The two companies say they’ve done joint research for a year to arrive at their method for measuring niche cable networks.

“We're committed to delivering solutions that drive business benefits for our clients. Big and small. Global and local. Across and within platforms,” Steve Hasker, Nielsen’s president of global product leadership, said in a statement. “This initiative with Simulmedia signifies an important Nielsen move to seek out innovation to bring meaningful insights to our clients and the industry. We look forward to continued collaboration with Simulmedia."

Simulmedia uses its audience data to target advertising messages for network and marketers, often by highlighting otherwise undervalued commercial inventory. Simulmedia worked with Nielsen last year to combine Simulmedia’s audience insights data base with Nielsen’s buyer insights.

 “We are very excited to work with Nielsen again on research that we expect will eventually allow smaller networks to sell advertising using consistent and reliable audience measurement tools,” Dave Morgan, Simulmedia’s CEO said. "In our work, we have found valuable blocks of audiences watching programs that may be under the radar of many network TV buyers. This research will surface both the value of these networks and their audiences to brands, and the cost effectiveness of working with them to reach attractive consumers and achieve positive business outcomes."

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.