“These are three of the biggest and most meaningful platforms” for media companies and advertisers,” said Jessica Hogue, senior vice president of product leadership at Nielsen, in an interview. “We believe what we are providing here are audience insight and intelligence that advertisers can have confidence in.”
The maneuver, which will allow TV network and digital publishers to capture incremental viewing of video on the three digital outlets, broadens out Nielsen’s effort to track viewership and attention in new media realms. When the company’s digital content ratings were introduced in the fall of last year, the idea was to gauge audiences across desktop and mobile devices. Now, said Hogue, publishers will be able to have more granular detail about how videos perform.
“Whether it’s on Facebook, YouTube, or Hulu, video content is really meaningful to digital content ratings and the broader media ecosystem,” she said. “Whether it’s a short-form clip or a snippet of a content or a longer television program, we are able now to enable publishers to incorporate that viewership back into their totals, if you will.
The ratings here are not meant to be folded into Nielsen’s long-running TV ratings. Those audience measures are based on tallying up views of TV programs that run with the same load of commercials, no matter the venue in which they appear. But the digital content ratings can be utilized by publishers to describe consumption of streaming video content or by advertisers to get a third-party measure of that activity from digital media companies that have not always been tremendously forthcoming with detail that can be independently verified. Facebook has in the recent past run afoul of media buyers after revealing some of their video metrics were overstated.
Publishers can get credit for video distributed on Facebook and YouTube, while Hulu will provide select partners with credit for current series distributed on its streaming-video service.
A group of publishers and media agencies said they applauded the move. “Much of our content is being missed by traditional measurement tools and Nielsen’s Digital Content Ratings allow us to count content views and viewers across our owned and operated properties as well as Facebook and YouTube,” said Edwin Wong, vice president of research and insights at BuzzFeed, in a prepared statement provided by Nielsen. “With this new tool at our disposal we are able to have a clearer view of BuzzFeed’s true reach.”
“Having a more complete understanding of how audiences build across platforms will help inform our strategies, and we are looking forward to seeing more progress made on this front.” said Brian Hughes, senior vice president of audience intelligence and strategy at Interpublic Group’s Magna Global, in a statement.
Nielsen’s announcement comes as more digital companies are placing new emphasis and added resources on creating video content, rather than pieces of simple text.