Nielsen to Rate TV on Web, iPods, Phones

NEW YORK Nielsen Media Research said today it would begin measuring new ways that consumers are watching television, such as on the Internet and via cell phones, iPods and other personal, mobile devices, under an initiative it is calling Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2).

Developed in conjunction with its clients, Nielsen said the initiative would soon test new meters to measure video viewed on portable devices, and would add measurement of online streaming video in its People Meter samples by next year, creating a single all-electronic measurement of TV viewing across platforms. Nielsen is owned by Adweek parent VNU.

This summer Nielsen will install and test software meters, including Nielsen/Net Ratings’ metering technology on the personal computers of current People Meter homes and will come up with metrics that will enable it to add that rating information to the overall viewing sample for the 2007-08 broadcast season. Nielsen will report the fused viewing data of television and Internet viewing for each of the broadcast and cable networks.

Nielsen said it plans to create a 400-person panel of iPod users by the end of this year, to begin test-measuring viewing on those portable devices.

Nielsen also said it is expanding its Local People Meter service beyond the 10 largest local TV markets to the next 15 largest markets. Those rollouts will begin in October 2007 in Houston, Seattle and Tampa, Fla.

In markets ranging in size from the 26th to 60th largest, where Set-Meters are now used, Nielsen will introduce the A/P 3.0, a variation of the Active/Passive meter that will not need to be wired directly into the TV sets. The meter can be placed next to the TV, where it will accurately collect the TV viewing data. Information on who is watching the program will be collected through the same People Meter technology used in the National and Local People Meters, which will be integrated into the A/P design. Pending the results of testing of these meters, Nielsen plans to begin introducing them into the remaining Set Meter markets in 2008.

In current diary-only markets, which are basically those ranging in size from 61 to 125, Nielsen is planning to offer battery-powered meters that would be placed near TVs to capture all programming, requiring household members to record only what they individually watched. During a test period, diaries would supplement the meters. The electronic metered results would then be evaluated by mid-2007, and Nielsen will decide whether to implement them on a permanent basis.

For smaller markets currently served only by paper diaries, Nielsen said it is planning to “aggressively pursue a full electronic-measurement plan and to investigate a number of possible electronic solutions that could replace paper-only diaries.”

Nielsen is pledging to have electronic measurement of TV viewing in every market by 2011.