On Sept 19, the Wall Street Journal broke the news that among many things, Nielsen plans to add social media measurement to its TV Ratings beginning Fall 2014. However, there are a few measurements that should be noted which show how Nielsen is adapting to the changing audience landscape.
1. TV ratings data will include information on tablet and smartphone viewership. This is huge news because according to the Pew Research Center, 34 percent of Americans own a tablet and 85 percent of those users have watched at least some TV on their device.
2. A Twitter-related ratings service will launch beginning Sept 30. When Comedy Central revolutionized the game by adding a hashtag at the bottom of the screen during the “#TrumpRoast,” it started a phenomenon that engaged viewers on multiple platforms. With this in mind, Nielsen aims to track during-program and during-commercial engagement.
3. Beginning Sept 30, Nielsen will acquire Arbitron Inc. for $1.3 billion. Arbitron is a radio measurement company that will allow Nielsen to measure “capabilities outside homes,” with the approval of the Federal Trade Commission.
The biggest drawback to the news is that even in 2014 when it unveils the new metrics, it will still only monitor viewership with TV ads, which means no Hulu, Netflix or HBOgo. Also, many news sources showed annoyance toward Nielsen for being so “behind the times.”