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Nielsen Cross-Measurement Efforts Get New Boost

Nielsen’s efforts to measure TV viewing across a multitude of new screens may have new momentum.

A new Nielsen measurement effort that accounts for linear TV viewing taking place on desktop and mobile devices has been granted accreditation by the Media Rating Council, the company said Tuesday. The technology, known as Digital in TV Ratings, is the first technique to receive an MRC nod for its contribution to TV audience measurement of programming viewed on computers and mobile devices, Nielsen said.

“If you look around the globe, all countries are grappling with how they extend their TV currency so it involves other platforms,” said Megan Clarken, president of product leadership at Nielsen, in an interview.

Nielsen first launched Digital in TV ratings in 2015 and ABC, CBS, Freeform and Univision currently utilize it. The technology allows programmers to count viewers across devices as long as the program content and commercials match the linear TV airing. The results can be included in deals with advertisers, who typically pay for the number of people watching the commercials that support the shows in a three-day or seven-day window.

The MRC accreditation provides media buyers and sellers with a third-party assurance as they negotiate new agreements with the TV networks. “Nielsen has taken an important step in its efforts to meet the needs of the marketplace to have a fuller view into the consumption of TV programming across platforms, regardless of how it is being consumed,” said George W. Ivie, executive director and CEO of the MRC, in a prepared statement.

Acceptance of Nielsen’s digital-media measurement concepts comes as one large media buyer, WPP’s GroupM, has expressed a desire to set a new system in which views of commercials across TV, mobile and digital screens are used to negotiate advertising agreements in TV’s annual “upfront” market. Each year, U.S. TV networks try to sell the bulk of their ad inventory for the coming programming year as part of that annual sales season.

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