Nielsen, grappling with a new competitor in the market of measuring the audiences tuning in to TV networks’ famous dramas and comedies, said it would add set-top box viewership data to its industry-standard ratings for the first time, adding a new wrinkle in a growing battle to wield the ultimate yardstick in the U.S. media sector.
Nielsen said Monday it would harness anonymized data from millions of households that subscribe to the Dish satellite-programming service. Those households will be combined with data from Nielsen’s local markets, offering what the company touted as “a deeper understanding of viewing habits and increased metrics reliability.”
Nielsen has come under fire in recent years as more viewers of traditional TV viewing have migrated to other video-consumption venues, including streaming video and mobile tablets and devices. Earlier this year, ComScore, a company best known for measuring audience on the web, merged with Rentrak, a company that has developed a reputation for measuring video-on-demand audiences. Since that time, the company has moved to challenge Nielsen with a new service that would gauge both TV viewership and well as digital video consumption. Viacom, the owner of MTV and Nickelodeon, recently announced that it would use ComScore in its efforts to provide advertisers alternatives for measuring non-traditional audiences of its program.
“Nielsen is the industry’s currency and adding aggregated Dish set-top-box viewership data to Nielsen’s products will enhance the granularity and clarity of the insights that Nielsen provides,” said Warren Schlichting, Dish executive vice president of marketing, programming and media sales, in a prepared statement. “This will allow advertisers and networks to improve their marketing and programming decisions even as television viewing itself becomes more fragmented.”
Nielsen has introduced a “Total Audience Measurement” product that it has already introduced to the market and intends to broaden throughout the year.