Nielsen to measure in-home consumption of SVOD services

By Jim O'Neill on Nov 19 2014 at 5:00 AM

Oft-criticized Nielsen will next month begin measuring viewership on subscription video on demand (SVOD) service, peeking behind what has, so far, been a curtain of secrecy and self-reporting for service such as Netflix and Amazon Prime.

The Wall Street Journal, quoting unnamed sources, is reporting the ratings company will measure viewing of streamed TV shows by analyzing audio from the shows to identify the content.

But mobile video viewing, a category that's booming, especially among younger viewers, won’t be included in the measurements for now. The Journal reports that the technology being used in home can't currently work on mobile devices.Millennial audiences increasingly use their mobile devices as their first screens for viewing.

Still, Nielsen says the new measurements will be transformative.

“Our clients will be able to look at their programs and understand: Is putting content on Netflix impacting the viewership on linear and traditional VOD [video on demand]?” said Brian Fuhrer, a senior vice president at Nielsen.

The data is expected to change how content owners negotiate rights with SVOD providers, giving them insight to the amount of time viewers are spending with their licensed content.

The Journal said the Nielsen documents show TV viewing time has slipped 7% Y/Y for the month ended Oct. 27, among the highly valued 18-49 year old demographic.

Nielsen also found that the number of homes using SVOD services in the first nine months of the year had increased 18%, rising to 40% from 34% in January.

And, it found, according to the documents obtained by the Journal, that streaming homes were watching less TV. Millennials, those 18-34, were watching 20% less; viewers 35-54 were watching 19% less.

Those numbers are in contrast to statements made by TV executives that SVOD services were largely “supplementing” exisiting television viewing.

Nielsen has drawn fire from TV executives for not measuring digital media adequately. Viacom Chief Phillippe Dauman, for example, said services like Nielsen have “not caught up to the marketplace.”

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