Nielsen to Launch Out-Of-Home Viewing Measurement Service

By A.J. Katz 

Today, Nielsen announced its plan to leverage its portable people meter (PPM) technology and its panelists to measure out-of-home viewing for national TV network clients. Beginning in April 2017, those that subscribe to this service, which will undoubtedly include the Nielsen-rated cable news networks, will receive audience estimates that combine in-home viewing, based on Nielsen’s National TV ratings data, with out-of-home viewing based data from the PPM panels.

Nielsen says the service will provide live through live-plus-7-day data, going back to January 2017. It will add data that stretches back to September not long after launch.

The use of the PPM device, which panelists bring with them wherever they go, allows Nielsen to measure TV viewing that occurs in places like restaurants, bars, waiting rooms, hotel lobbies, gyms, and airports.

“Measuring where consumers watch content, regardless of platform and location, is at the core of Nielsen Total Audience, and this includes out-of-home viewing,” said Sara Erichson, executive vp, Nielsen Client Solutions and Audience Insights. “While consumers have always watched TV outside the home, that viewing has not been measured. This new measurement enables both buyers and sellers to understand the incremental reach of advertising messages.”

Many networks should benefit from the new service, few more than news networks, which have significant out-of-home audiences. At the airport, the gym or in a hotel lobby? CNN is probably on. The same can be said for other cable or business news nets. Those eyeballs have never been properly measured.

While the new offering will launch as a standalone service, Nielsen plans to incorporate out-of-home viewing directly into its current national TV ratings at a later stage. Baby steps.

Needless to say, Turner is thrilled.

“As a leading media company with a diverse portfolio of brands, Turner recognizes that today’s audience measurement requires constant innovation to capture the full scope of audience behavior. For brands like CNN and Turner Sports with huge and valuable out-of-home audiences, we need to be able to measure consumption regardless of the platform, screen or location,” said Howard Shimmel, chief research officer, Turner. “In collaboration with Nielsen, we were first-to-market using PPM technology for custom out-of-home solutions for CNN. Nielsen’s new National TV Out-of-Home Measurement Service will help us drive these capabilities forward.”

As viewing habits continue to change, Nielsen is being pushed to improve its measurement systems to keep clients happy. The company’s Total Audience Measurement platform is set to launch on March 1, and it will cease using paper diaries beginning in 2018.