Nielsen to Introduce Out-of-Home Ratings in April

Nielsen will officially be introducing out-of-home ratings next April. Using its sample of 75,000 portable people meters across 44 markets, Nielsen will start to give clients a more scientific look at who’s leaving their humble abodes to watch NFL games and “Empire.”

These out-of-home numbers won’t be integrated into the ratings used in ad deals (the “currency”) until “a later stage,” according to Nielsen. The data that will be released to clients starting in April will include numbers stretching back to January, with more batches including data from September through December of this year to follow.

Out-of-home viewing wasn’t being entirely discounted by the TV industry this whole time, though. Particularly when it came to sports, advertisers all knew a certain percentage of their viewership was coming from bar, airports, and other places without Nielsen meters, and wasn’t showing up in the official Nielsen tally; the percentage was being guessed at and baked into the pricing of the spots bought.

But one of the big beefs with counting out-of-home viewing is that environments like bars and airports can be hellish audioscapes, and for advertisers, if someone can’t hear an ad, it doesn’t count. With the portable people meters, only ads that the meter can “hear” will be counted.

And now that ESPN has actually found a major agency to tack the out-of-home numbers onto guarantees (though likely at a discount), there’s a real impetus for Nielsen to push this product into the marketplace at large.

“This new service gives us the ability to capture out-of-home viewing precisely as it happens, and helps us double down on the power and delivery of live sports, while transacting on new, valuable audience segments for advertisers,” said Artie Bulgrin, ESPN’s senior vice president of global research and analytics.

ESPN had resurrected talk of including out-of-home in guarantees at its upfront event in May. It was seeing lifts of 9% for certain college football games, and up to 16% for other programming. In a world of skyrocketing sports rights fees and shrinking subscriber numbers (ESPN has seen its subscriber base erode to under 90 million homes), the ability to show where those eyeballs are going — and what they’re watching — is important.

Not that these out-of-home numbers will be some sort of panacea. They’re unlikely to truly lift ratings for primetime NFL games out of their current funk, and by the time the data has been rolled out in April, the season will have long been over. But it is one more piece of Nielsen’s “Total Audience Measurement,” an attempt to create a full picture of viewers on all devices (and their ad-watching behavior) that will be available for use in transactions on March 1.

Turner recognizes that today’s audience measurement requires constant innovation to capture the full scope of audience behavior,” said Howard Shimmel, Turner’s chief research officer. “For brands like CNN and Turner Sports with huge and valuable out-of-home audiences, we need to be able to measure consumption regardless of the platform, screen or location.”

More TV

  • Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer speaks

    TV Ratings: Trump Impeachment First Day Draws 11 Million Viewers

    The opening day of President Trump’s senate impeachment trial drew a substantial amount if viewers across the three cable news and major networks that broadcast the proceedings. In total, around 11 million people tuned in to see prosecutors from the House of Representatives and attorneys for the White House argue over exactly how the complicated [...]

  • ABC Logo

    ABC Picks Up Drama Pilot 'Harlem's Kitchen' From 'Scandal' Writer

    ABC has made their third drama pilot pick up and fourth pilot pick up overall for the 2020-2021 season. The broadcaster has ordered the drama pilot “Harlem’s Kitchen.” It is described as an ensemble family drama set in a fine dining restaurant in Harlem. Ellis Rice, Executive Chef and patriarch, runs a successful restaurant with [...]

  • Cate Blanchett Mrs. America

    'FX on Hulu' Shows Will Be Counted as FX at the Emmys (EXCLUSIVE)

    Upcoming original series “Devs,” “Mrs. America,” “A Teacher” and “The Old Man” won’t actually air on FX — but the network will still get credit when it comes to Emmy consideration. The Television Academy has said that all “FX on Hulu” shows — which will air exclusively on Hulu, and not on the linear network [...]

  • Johnny Flynn

    Johnny Flynn Joins Andrew Scott in Showtime Series 'Ripley'

    Johnny Flynn has been cast opposite Andrew Scott in the upcoming Showtime series based on Patricia Highsmith’s Tom Ripley novels. Flynn will appear in a series regular role in the eight-episode first season. In “Ripley,” Tom Ripley (Scott), a grifter scraping by in early 1960s New York, is hired by a wealthy man to try [...]

  • Bill Abbott

    Crown Media President, CEO Bill Abbott Steps Down

    Bill Abbott is exiting his post as president and CEO of Crown Media, the parent company of Hallmark Channel, Hallmark Movies & Mysteries and Hallmark Drama. The company made the announcement on Wednesday. “After 11 years, Bill Abbott, president and CEO of Crown Media is leaving the company,” said Mike Perry, president and CEO of [...]

  • 'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Trailer

    'Star Wars: The Clone Wars' Trailer Shows Epic Finale on Disney Plus

    Nearly 10 years and three networks later, “Star Wars: The Clone Wars” is finally getting its last season. Disney Plus will premiere the seventh and final season of the animated series on Feb. 21, likely releasing the 12 episodes weekly, similar to what the new streaming service did for “The Mandalorian.” It’s been six years [...]

More From Our Brands

Access exclusive content