Nielsen Fuses TV, Internet

NEW YORK Nielsen Media Research and Nielsen NetRatings have launched their National TV/Internet Fusion database, which merges information from television and Internet viewer/user panels into a single data set, allowing programmers and advertisers to maximize the relationship between TV and Web use.

The new service will be offered through Nielsen’s Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement initiative.

The resource combines Nielsen’s National People Meter sample of more than 30,000 respondents, with NetRatings’ NetView sample, which electronically tracks the Internet use of about 29,000 panelists from homes and businesses. The fused database can provide age, sex, education, household income and region of the country, to provide a comprehensive picture of consumers’ TV and online activities.

The goal of the database will be to ultimately develop a single-sample TV/Internet panel. Beginning this month, Nielsen will install software meters, including NetRatings’ metering technology, on the laptops and personal computers of test homes with Nielsen People Meters. The meters will be fully deployed by the end of the 2007-08 TV season.

The data expected to be provided will be: assessment of Internet usage by TV audiences, including visits to media company Web sites; TV viewership by visitors to specific Web sites; quantification of the unduplicated reach of TV sources and Web sites; segmentation of audiences to identify and target specific interest groups; and tracking changing patterns of media consumption as more TV programming and streaming content becomes available online.

In conjunction with the newly launched service, a sample fused data report produced via April 2006 data shows that 40 percent of the U.S. population are more television centric, 24 percent are more Internet centric, and 15 percent are equally heavy users of both TV and the Internet. Other data revealed: heavy Internet users tend to watch more TV than light Internet users; broadcast and cable networks achieve higher ratings among people who visit their Web sites; and visitors to “pure-play” Internet Web sites tend to watch less TV than average viewers.

“The National TV/Internet Fusion database takes media measurement to a new level,” said Mainak Mazumdar, vp, measurement science for NetRatings. “As streaming content becomes ubiquitous on the Internet, the importance of a combined TV and Internet data set is critical for companies competing for the digital consumer.”

Paul Donato, chief research officer for Nielsen Media Research, said the new database “represents a critical element in Nielsen’s commitment to measure television wherever and however it is viewed.”

Nielsen is owned by Adweek parent VNU.