×
You will be redirected back to your article in seconds

Nielsen Proves It Can Track Mobile TV Viewing, But Work Is Just Beginning

Test verifies measurement of CBS streams via Syncbak app, but Nielsen sees obstacles to integrating data into TV ratings

Nielsen claims it has successfully completed a technical trial with CBS and Syncbak to measure mobile TV viewing — and could eventually track usage on other apps, including Aereo’s controversial service — but the research firm says there’s still considerable work to do before that data can be incorporated into TV ratings.

Nielsen worked with CBS, which is a strategic investor in Syncbak, to record viewing on iPad and iPhone devices with four CBS-owned television stations in New York and Los Angeles: WCBS, WLNY, KCBS and KCAL. The two-week trial ran from end of April into May.

“With the success of this trial we now know we can obtain measureable credit for the in-market mobile viewing of our content and do so in a way that is monetizable,” CBS chief research officer David Poltrack said in a statement.

CBS has not decided whether to offer live TV on mobile devices as an authenticated service — limited only to subscribers of partner pay TV operators, as ABC is currently planning to do — or to deliver it free to anyone.

To participate in the Nielsen test, Syncbak had to integrate Nielsen’s software development kit into its app, which let Nielsen monitor viewing of the broadcast nets via an ID3 tag.

“Our goal is to be able to measure content wherever it is used, on whatever device,” said Farshad Family, senior VP of local media product leadership at Nielsen. “We are doing these tests to further develop our technology, so we are able to scale it as the ecosystem provides more content.”

The challenges, though, include obtaining demographic info from mobile TV viewers and whether Nielsen would integrate mobile TV into its regular television panels. “The industry has to resolve all these questions,” Family said.

When fully activated and deployed, the Syncbak app is designed to let users watch live, in-market broadcast TV on Apple and Android smartphones and tablets. The startup’s technology is designed to provide TV Everywhere authenticated access to local TV to subscribers of participating cable and satellite providers.

Nielsen may at some point work with Aereo to measure viewing on connected devices, but the research firm has no specific timing, according to a rep. Aereo, whose investors include Barry Diller, is being sued by large broadcasters alleging the startup is engaged in blatant copyright infringement; Aereo says its service, which uses tiny remote antennas, simply lets customers access free over-the-air TV in a new way.

More TV

  • ABBY'S -- "Pilot" Episode 101 --

    TV Review: 'Abby's' Starring Natalie Morales

    “Abby’s,” NBC’s new comedy about a cranky bartender (Natalie Morales) and her inner circle of regulars, is aware of the inevitable “Cheers” comparisons. Created by “New Girl” writer Josh Malmuth and executive produced by uber-producer (and unabashed “Cheers” superfan) Mike Schur, “Abby’s” therefore makes a few key choices in order to differentiate itself as its [...]

  • Ryan Murphy Walk of Fame

    TV News Roundup: Netflix Sets Premiere Date for Ryan Murphy's 'The Politician'

    In today’s roundup, Netflix announces the premiere date for Ryan Murphy’s “The Politician” series, and Kristin Cavallari will host “Paradise Hotel” on Fox.  DATES Reality star Kristin Cavallari will host Fox’s reboot of “Paradise Hotel,” an unscripted dating show in which a group of singles will check into a tropical resort and compete to check [...]

  • 'Selling Sunset': Producer Behind Netflix's First

    'Selling Sunset': Producer Behind Netflix's First Docusoap on the State of Reality TV

    Netflix crossed another unscripted threshold on Friday with the launch of “Selling Sunset,” an 8-episode series that follows a group of real estate agents on the Sunset Strip. The show is believed to be the streaming service’s first docusoap, the now-ubiquitous format first popularized in the early 2000s by shows like MTV’s “Laguna Beach” and [...]

  • Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018

    Discovery CEO David Zaslav Sees 2018 Compensation Soar to $129.4 Million

    Discovery Inc. president-CEO David Zaslav is once again making headlines for an enormous compensation package. Zaslav’s 2018 compensation soared to $129.44 million in 2018, fueled by stock options and grants awarded as the longtime Discovery chief signed a new employment contract last July that takes him through 2023 at the cable programming group. Zaslav received [...]

  • 'Supernatural' to End After Season 15

    'Supernatural' to End After Season 15 on The CW

    “Supernatural” is ending after 15 seasons. Series stars Jared Padalecki, Jensen Ackles, and Misha Collins made the announcement in a video posted on Instagram on Friday. “We just told the crew that even though we’re very excited to be moving into our 15th season, it will be our last,” Ackles said. “15 years of a [...]

  • Gayle King Power of Women 2017

    CBS News, Gayle King Close to Terms for New 'CBS This Morning' Contract

    Gayle King is likely to stay a morning person. The popular anchor, who has enjoyed a steady stream of big-interview “gets” in recent weeks, is moving closer to signing a new deal to stay at CBS News and “CBS This Morning,” according to two people familiar with the matter. The talks are still in flux, [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content