News

Nielsen to Rate FiOS TV on Xbox

12/12/2011 12:01 AM Eastern

As the old Visa commercials said, cable
programmers want to be everywhere their viewers want
to be. But they don’t want to leave ad dollars on the table.

On the Xbox 360, at least, Nielsen said it’s prepared
to give viewing credit for the 26 live
TV channels that Verizon Communications’
FiOS TV customers will
be able to watch through Microsoft’s
game console later this month.

FiOS TV is one of 40-plus content
partners Microsoft will bring to the
Xbox over the next several months,
as the software giant looks to become
a central hub for home entertainment
(see “Microsoft Talks Up
Xbox’s TV Game,” ).

“TV content delivered through game consoles is
eligible to contribute to ratings as long as the content
is encoded and viewed on a metered set,” Brian
Fuhrer, Nielsen’s senior vice president and product
leader for national and crossplatform measurement,
said via email. “We are working closely with the content
distributors and
console manufacturers
to make sure this
cont inues to meet
our requirements for
detection.”

The fact that Nielsen
is able to measure
viewing on Xbox was
one of the key reasons
that Viacom, for one,
is playing ball with the
FiOS-on-Xbox service.

“Verizon FiOS approached
us in advance
to discuss this
new opportunity for
Xbox Live consumers,” Joseph Molko, senior vice president
of content distribution and marketing for Viacom
Media Networks, said in a statement. “We’re open
to distributing our content on this platform as the programming
is Nielsen-rated and we’ll be able to monetize
viewing through ad sales.”

Viacom objected
to the
iPad apps for
in-home live
TV from Time
Warner Cable
and Cablevision
Systems,
in part because
Nielsen currently
doesn’t
track that usage.
Viacom and Cablevision subsequently reached an
agreement on terms for the MSO’s iPad app. Nielsen is
working with pay TV providers to figure out how to incorporate
tablet viewing into overall TV metrics, a project
it has pegged as a top priority for 2012.

Viacom’s networks will represent one-third of the
FiOS TV lineup available to subscribers
through Microsoft’s Xbox 360 later
this month. Its nine networks to be
available through the Xbox to FiOS
customers are BET, Comedy Central,
MTV, MTV2, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr.,
Spike, TV Land and VH1.

Recently, Viacom has had a dispute
with Nielsen over ratings for
Nickelodeon, with the media company
blaming a big drop in ratings
at the kids’ network on anomalies by
Nielsen. Nielsen acknowledged it incorrectly
reported a rise in the number
of children watching TV this fall
while maintaining that its ratings for
Nickelodeon are accurate.