Cable Operators

Nielsen Tests iPad Measurement With TWC, Cablevision

8/22/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

Nielsen has started
tests with Time Warner Cable,
Cablevision Systems and two
programmers to try to measure
live TV viewing on the cable operators’
iPad applications.

The effort is still in “an R&D
stage,” said Matt O’Grady,
Nielsen’s executive vice president
of media audience measurement.

“Right now, iPad streaming is not having
an impact on ratings,” O’Grady said. “But
we’re taking [the project] dead seriously
because our clients need to know what the
viewing is on tablet and smartphone platforms.”

O’Grady declined to identify the two media
companies participating in the test.

Time Warner
Cable has
said its TWCable
App for iPad has
been downloaded
more than 600,000
times since it was
released March
15, while Cablevision
said last week
its Optimum App
for iPad topped 200,000 downloads since its
early April debut.

Several programmers objected that the
MSOs’ apps violated distribution agreements,
with Viacom pursuing legal action against
both TWC and Cablevision with lawsuits asserting
breach of contract and copyright infringement.
The operators have insisted that
providing live TV on iPads — or any other IPconnected
devices — inside the home is an extension
of existing carriage deals.

In part, Viacom and others complained
that Nielsen currently is unable to account for
viewing on devices such as the iPad.

Viacom is in negotiations with Time
Warner Cable on the TWCable TV app,
and the two sides suspended their litigation
while they try to reach a compromise.

Last week, Cablevision and Viacom settled
the programmer’s lawsuit for undisclosed
terms (see Platforms).

Nielsen is working with TWC and Cablevision
on the viewing measurement
project, using a small piece of code on
the iPad in conjunction with server-side
software. O’Grady said the next step is to
launch a “friends and family” measurement
test of the iPad apps with Nielsen employees.

March