×
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

  • L.A. Teachers' Strike: Hollywood Studios, Unions

    Hollywood Studios, Unions Support Parents and Educators as L.A. Teachers' Strike Rages

    Hollywood unions and entertainment companies have stepped up to support the 31,000 Los Angeles teachers in the second day of a massive strike that’s affected nearly half a million students. More than 50 SAG-AFTRA members picketed at a Tuesday afternoon rally in the driving rain next to the Hollywood & Highland Center with secretary-treasurer Jane [...]

  • R. KellyR. Kelly in concert at

    'Surviving R. Kelly' Producers on the Lifetime Doc's Ripple Effect

    The ripple effect of “Surviving R. Kelly” continues to widen more than a week after the documentary aired on Lifetime, renewing public interest — and outrage — over the litany of sexual abuse allegations against the R&B artist. Lady Gaga and Phoenix have apologized for working with him. Chance the Rapper and other artists are said to [...]

  • Yellowstone

    Viacom Lays Off Paramount Network Staffers Amid Reorganization (EXCLUSIVE)

    Viacom has laid off a number of staffers in its entertainment group, with the majority of the affected employees hailing from Paramount Network, Variety has learned exclusively. A Viacom spokesperson declined to comment. But a source with knowledge of the situation that the number of affected employees was fewer than 20, or less than 2% of [...]

  • The Last OG

    TV News Roundup: 'Last O.G.' Sets Season 2 Premiere Date on TBS

    In today’s TV News Roundup, “The Last O.G.” announces its Season 2 return date and Variety has the exclusive first look at Fox’s new legal drama “Proven Innocent.” FIRST LOOKS Netflix has announced its new limited series “Black Earth Rising” will launch on Jan. 25. The contemporary thriller series stars Michaela Coel as Kate Ashby, a Rwandan girl [...]

  • Matt Walsh

    'Veep' Star Matt Walsh to Lead ABC Comedy Pilot 'Happy Accident'

    Matt Walsh has been tapped for a lead role in the upcoming ABC single-camera comedy pilot “Happy Accident.” In the series, two Pittsburgh families – a father (Walsh) with three adult daughters, and a hotel lounge singer with her med student son – are forced together after a decades-old secret is revealed. Walsh currently stars in [...]

  • Jane Fonda

    'Grace and Frankie' Renewed for Season 6 at Netflix

    Netflix has renewed “Grace and Frankie” for a sixth season ahead of the Season 5 premiere this Friday. The series stars Jane Fonda and Lily Tomlin as the titular characters who found their lives turned upside down when their husbands (played by Martin Sheen and Sam Waterston, respectively) revealed they were gay and left the [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content