Nielsen Agrees to Expand Definition of TV Viewing

The TV ratings monopoly is finally expanding its definition of television to include Internet streaming, Xbox, and eventually iPads into a comprehensive ratings systems.

By September 2013, when the next TV season begins, Nielsen expects to have in place new hardware and software tools in the nearly 23,000 TV homes it samples. Those measurement systems will capture viewership not just from the 75 percent of homes that rely on cable, satellite and over the air broadcasts but also viewing via devices that deliver video from streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon, from so-called over-the-top services and from TV enabled game systems like the X-Box and PlayStation.

While some use of iPads and other tablets that receive broadband in the home will be included in the first phase of measurement improvements, a second phase is envisioned to include such devices in a more comprehensive fashion. The second phase is envisioned to roll out on a slower timetable, according to sources, will the overall goal to attempt to capture video viewing of any kind from any source.

While not perfect by any means, the baby-steps by Nielsen to identify a show’s true audience is welcome. Not that I think ‘Community’ has an audience as big as say, ‘The Big Bang Theory’, but I suspect the audience for ‘Community’ is larger than Nielsen reports.

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