NEW YORK: The Nielsen Company is planning to measure US television viewing on PCs before the year's end, and expects to extend the service eventually to viewing measurement on mobile devices such as cellphones and MP3 players.

The company says it is responding to client demands by taking these first steps to make online audience metrics a permanent part of its TV ratings service.

The announcement is an update of Nielsen's anytime/anywhere media measurement initiative unveiled late 2006, which aims to integrate TV-based and online TV viewing.

Declares president of media product leadership Jim O'Hara: "Our ultimate goal will be to bring full internet measurement to the TV panel for both streaming and navigation."

The firm expects to begin installing the necessary technology in the latter half of the year. It has gained agreement from just under half of its eligible panellists to track their PC viewing habits.

Those who refused told Nielsen that although they trusted the company to "maintain their confidentiality with TV measurement, they felt computer data is more personal and personally identifiable than TV data." 

This issue will need to be addressed, but in the meantime the company is offering its VideoCensus service, launched last year, which measures video programming viewed on websites.

Data sourced from; additional content by WARC staff