Nielsen Eyes VOD Ratings


Officials at server supplier SeaChange International Inc. said last week that
they're working with Nielsen Media Research to develop a ratings system for
video-on-demand content.

SeaChange already supplies cable-operator customers with software they can
use to generate VOD-usage reports. But those reports have generally only been
used internally by MSOs -- such as Comcast Corp., which wants to see basic-cable
programmers earn extra ad revenue for the content the MSO offers free-of-charge
to VOD subscribers -- and shared with their VOD-content suppliers.

SeaChange hopes partnering with Nielsen will allow it to generate substantive
VOD-ratings reports and that Nielsen's reputation within the advertising
community will help to generate VOD ad sales, director of product marketing
Bruce Kasrel said.

Nielsen officials didn't return calls last week. In a prepared statement,
Nielsen senior vice president of strategic relationships, marketing and
technology Scott Brown said, "With major MSOs rapidly implementing VOD
technology, this is a natural area for Nielsen reporting."

One of the biggest challenges Nielsen and SeaChange face is figuring out how
much data to share with advertisers. SeaChange's system can monitor everything
from buy-rates to how long a subscriber watches a particular VOD stream, but
executives said advertisers could be confused if presented with too much

Comcast, which was the first MSO to deploy a free VOD tier, could be one
target for a VOD-ratings product from SeaChange and Nielsen.