Nielsen Will Measure Viewership for Streaming Services Like Netflix and Amazon

Now we'll know how many people watch 'Orange Is the New Black'

Nielsen Media, the dominant provider of U.S. television ratings for decades, announced plans this week to begin measuring viewership numbers for content on streaming services. The new data will including both original programming, such as Netflix’s Orange Is the New Black and House of Cards, as well as content acquired from more traditional media companies.

Soon, advertisers will be able to directly compare traditional shows seen on TV sets with those watched via streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime Instant Video.

Nielsen plans to use audio cues to identify which shows are being streamed, noted documents first obtained by The Wall Street Journal. “Our clients will be able to look at their programs and understand: Is putting content on Netflix impacting the viewership on linear and traditional VOD?” Brian Fuhrer, senior vice president of Nielsen, said.

Time noted that subscriptions to streaming services jumped from 34 percent of U.S. homes in January, to 40 percent as of September. Both Netflix and Amazon executives declined to comment on the report, according to Time.

By tracking viewership for shows on streaming websites—which have been tight-lipped about their numbers to date—Nielsen could even the playing field when it comes to negotiating fees for individual shows and for bundled groups of content.