Nielsen Preps New Ratings Data Release

NEW YORK Nielsen Media Research will offer its clients six different Average Commercial Minute ratings data streams on a syndicated basis beginning May 31, but will release an updated version of its NPower software on Jan. 29 that will allow some clients to perform their own commercial minute ratings calculations encompassing DVR playback.

While offering its new commercial minute ratings data via NPower will allow some media agency clients to do their own commercial minute calculations and be able to use it as negotiating currency during the May TV upfront buying period, the fact that Nielsen will not release the data on a syndicated basis until May 31 would seem to preclude commercial minute ratings data from being used as a universal currency in this year’s upfront.

The six ratings streams, which will be available back to the first week of May, include live viewing, live viewing plus DVR playback on same day, live viewing plus DVR playback within one day, live viewing plus DVR playback in two days, live viewing plus DVR playback in three days and live viewing plus DVR playback in seven days.

All broadcast, cable and syndicated programming will be included in the commercial minute data files. The period from May through August 2007 will be labeled as “evaluation” data and offered to clients at no charge. Nielsen will also provide access to its NPower data at no charge to any client between now and May 31 who currently does not subscribe to it.

On April 24, Nielsen will also add its new data stream capabilities to its All Minute Data File, an electronic file that allows clients to download Nielsen’s core data directly into their own and third-party software systems.

“The plan announced today is based on extensive consultation with clients to gain insight into what commercial minute ratings information will best meet the needs of the advertising and television industries,” said Sara Erichson, general manager of national services for Nielsen.

Over the past month, Nielsen has met will more than 100 clients to get feedback on the type of commercial minute ratings data it should provide.

Nielsen is owned by VNU, as are Adweek and Mediaweek.