Consultancy giant Nielsen plans to update the way it measures TV ratings to better mirror audiences, who are consuming live and on-demand TV via multiple devices and channels, showing how digital is now a core part of the medium. 

Digital viewing is increasingly fragmented and so in response the company’s new Nielsen One platform, set to launch in the autumn of next year, will be more than just another tool to measure digital, TechCrunch reports; instead, it will be an “update to Nielsen’s core metrics”. 

Once the platform is up and running, the aim is to be able to report on the true size of a viewing audience, not just those watching on traditional TV.

Nielsen’s general manager of audience measurement, Scott Brown, told TechCrunch that because of programmatic ad-buying, and other similar tools starting to expand into linear traditional TV, it was now time to do away with the notion that “everybody sees the same ads”.

He added that Nielsen One would be much more granular than measurements in the past, and would evaluate how many people see each ad across an array of platforms.

“Each individual advertisement will get an audience estimate number,” Brown said. The aim is to completely do away with the old metrics within two years of Nielsen One’s launch.

One unresolved question, however, is the thorny one of what actually is an impression – Facebook says three-seconds of viewing is a video play, while Netflix focuses on people who watch at least two minutes of content.

Brown said Nielsen plans to create a working group next year to answer the question. Meanwhile, the company was focused on establishing the technology to “measure on a second-by-second level of granularity”, he said.

Meanwhile, in another sign of the impact of changing audience viewing habits as digital content becomes ever more entrenched in the TV landscape, the Financial Times reports on what it describes as potentially the “biggest overhaul of broadcasting rules” in the UK for almost 20 years.

In a review of public service broadcasting, the UK’s media watchdog, Ofcom, says that without the introduction of new regulations, the traditional public service system is “unlikely to survive” in the face of challenges from the likes of Netflix, YouTube and Disney.

It proposes that connected TV providers be legally required to make space on their homepages for public service broadcasters, while, the FT says, giving the channels the legal right to secure “fair terms for their content”.

Ofcom has also suggested widening the number of public service content providers, encouraging, for example, local news streaming services. This would widen access to public funding.

Ofcom chief executive Melanie Dawes described the appearance of an increasing number of streaming services as driving a “blizzard of change” in television.

After a consultation on its “Small Screen: Big Debate” paper, Ofcom aims to offer recommendations to the UK government by June next year on how TV governance, the rules of which have applied since 2003, should be reformed.

Sourced from TechCrunch, Financial Times