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Nielsen Works To Include Out-Of-Home Viewing In TV Ratings

In a move likely to be welcomed by cable-news outlets that derive a significant chunk of their audience from people watching from offices and other workplaces, Nielsen said it had quantified a lift in so-called “out of home” viewing for the first time.

The measurement concern, which has come under significant pressure lately to demonstrate it can find ways to establish viewership of media content done via mobile devices and other new technologies, said Thursday it had measured meaningful lift in audience in a three-month test conducted in Chicago starting in April of this year. According to Nielsen, the test showed out-of-home viewing added a ratings lift of between 7% and 9% for audiences between the ages of 25 to 54 – the demographic most coveted by sponsors of news programming.

The data,while representing only a sliver of overall out-of-home viewing, is likely to provide a ray of hope for cable-news outlets, particularly networks like CNBC and Fox Business Network, which derive  a major part of their audience from people working in trading desks and the officers of financial-services firms. ESPN, Fox Sports 1 and NBCSN would likely also appreciate the measurement, as viewers are just as likely to watch their offerings at a watering hole or pal’s house as they are their own family room. Out-of-home viewership would also include people watching TV at the gym or a bar.

Nielsen said the  lift from out-of-home viewing for many specific dayparts and programs was even higher than what it measured for total-day viewing. Daytime saw the largest increases of any daypart, while primetime ratings were also significantly larger with the inclusion of out-of-home viewing. By genre,  Nielsen said, sports programming saw the largest lift: In April, sports ratings increased 14% after including out-of-home viewing.  The test also revealed increases for other types of programming, including news.

The Chicago test measurement combined data from Nielsen’s local people meter panel  with audience data captured away-from-home with its portable people meters, and measured audiences aged 25 to 54 among men, women and both English and Spanish-speaking Hispanics.


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