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Nielsen will measure VOD aud habits

Demand data planned to be released early 2006

NEW YORK — Nielsen Media Research will start recording the TV habits of people who watch their favorite shows via video-on-demand.

Beginning in February, Nielsen will install the equipment in homes of its subscriber base that regularly use VOD, committing itself to publish VOD data sometime during the second quarter of 2006.

Broadcast networks and cable channels “have urged Nielsen to measure video-on-demand,” said Bill Carroll, VP and director of programming for Katz TV, which represents hundreds of TV stations.

Carroll said Nielsen’s response is significant because more and more people have stopped watching TV shows in real time and are calling them up both on VOD and — through time shifting — on personal video recorders (PVRs).

Nielsen will shoehorn the VOD numbers into the data it’s already collecting on PVRs, which it publishes under its playback report. In the first phase of VOD measurement, Nielsen will focus on what it calls recently-aired TV programs. These are broadcast or cable shows that viewers watch on VOD within seven days of their first play.

Since very few recently aired programsmake their way to VOD, Nielsen said the next phase will be to capture viewership of library programming, such as theatrical movies and older TV series.

Carroll said Nielsen’s VOD initiative is needed because “video-on- demand for the next generation of viewers will be as commonplace as cable TV is for this generation.”