Nielsen is taking the next step to deliver TV viewing data at scale, as it happens: The media measurement company announced the relaunch of its real-time viewership analytics platform Grabix Thursday, which now makes use of data gathered by millions of smart TVs.
Nielsen Grabix combines Nielsen ratings with real-time viewing data gathered by smart TVs. Grabix promises minute-by-minute insights into viewership behavior in 56 TV markets, and across 400 stations. This is supposed to allow both networks and advertisers to see exactly when viewers jump ship, or join competing networks.
Grabix has been offering some of these minute-by-minute insights based on Nielsen’s traditional data sources for some time. The addition of smart TV data viewing data has been made possible through the integration of Gracenote, which Nielsen acquired for $560 million in late 2016.
Gracenote’s automatic content recognition (ACR) software is integrated in a number of smart TV models from manufacturers like LG. Worldwide, more than 40 million TVs from eight brands are capable of delivering such data to Gracenote. Grabix taps into a pool of 3 million of these devices at launch, but a spokesperson told Variety that the company planned to expand the number of devices over time.
The use of ACR technology to identify viewing habits of smart TV users has resulted in some backlash in the past. Vizio settled for $2.2 million with the FTC last year after the agency sued the TV maker for tracking its users viewing habits; the company subsequently began more clearly asking for consent before turning on ACR functionality.
Gracenote said in a statement Thursday that it is requiring user consent for ACR as well, and that it is not collecting any identifiable information about TV owners.