Nielsen Ratings to Include iPod and Internet Television Viewing

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In these days of downloading television shows to your iPod, watching streaming video on your laptop, and DVR-ing your favorite shows while you’re away from home, the Nielsen television ratings aren’t as accurate as they could be. But Nielsen Media Research is right on top of it with their announcement yesterday that they will begin to take into account in their rating system all the new ways we watch television.

The Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement (A2/M2) initiative will include traditional in-home viewing, online streaming video, “Out-of-Home” viewing, video viewed on portable media devices, new research for measuring a viewer’s active engagement, and electronic measurements (targeted for 2011).Beginning this year, Nielsen Media Research and NetRatings, which together provide the Nielsen/Netratings Internet media and market research service, will being devising a system for tracking and reporting online audio and video consumption.

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This summer, the companies will combine viewing results from their television and Internet panels to offer “fused” data to the public and to advertisers.Nielsen will also begin measuring not so techy consumption methods. By the end of 2008, they’re hoping to introduce meters for measuring TV viewing when you’re at work, in bars and restaurants, hotels and airports. Another cool innovation coming this fall is “Go Meters”, which will collect audio signatures about your out-of-home viewing. One device will place metering technology in your cell phone, and the other is a customized meter that looks just like an MP3 player.Finally, the company is looking to expand electronic measurement overall.

This includes meters that can collect data when placed next (and not connected) to your TV, and wearable personal tags that would know when viewers are really watching TV (or at least in its line of sight). For iPods and other portable media devices, Nielsen is developing wired and wireless (Bluetooth) devices that would passiviely “listen in” to your portable programming.I’m hoping all of these updates will make a difference when it comes to the networks deciding the fates of my favorite TV shows. Surely, it will help up ratings for Veronica Mars and it could have helped Everwood, which was rudely dropped by the new CW network in favor of Seventh Heaven: attack of the twins.

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