Nielsen Rethinks STB Data Services

Taking a more practical approach to the development of set-top-box data for TV ratings, Nielsen has reorganized its efforts. The new alignment eliminates Nielsen’s advanced digital services, the unit formerly charged with the development of STB data, and integrates it into the firm’s current audience measurement services.

Out in the organization is Manish Bhatia, the former Nielsen NetRatings executive who served as president of Nielsen’s advanced digital services since 2009. June 30 was Bhatia’s last day at Nielsen.

“While STB data is incomplete on its own, we believe combining the stability and granularity afforded by this data with the representative quality of our panels will provide enhanced capabilities, analytics and insight,” Nielsen said in its client letter.

As part of the new approach, Nielsen announced its first test of integrating STB into local market ratings, working with Charter Communications in three markets: St. Louis (a local people meter market), Greenville/Spartanburg, S.C. (a meter market) and Reno, Nev. (a diary market). The tests will help Nielsen determine if access to the larger samples from STB data can help stabilize the ratings to report out more stations and regional networks, and if the STB data can be modeled to provide demographic data.

Cheryl Idell, evp, media product leadership, who oversees all local TV media measurement and product development, will head up the test with Charter and Nielsen’s local market STB initiatives.

Matt O’Grady, evp, media product leadership, who heads up Nielsen’s cross-media platform measurement services, will head up the development of STB data for national and multiplatform services.

To manage the STB relationships with TV service providers such as the cable MSOs, Nielsen has hired Pat Dineen as svp, media product leadership. Dineen was most recently vp of client development for CSG Systems.

See also: “Nielsen Returns ‘Live’ to the Ratings”