Nielsen Plan Eyes R&D, VOD Measurement


New York— On the heels of a snafu regarding digital-cable audience data, Nielsen Media Research on Friday outlined steps for overall improvements that include accelerating efforts to measure on-demand TV viewing and creating a $2.5 million fund for methodological research on TV audience measurement.

In an eight-page letter to clients, Nielsen president and CEO Susan Whiting provided some details for the fund and a variety of other moves it’s taking as part of an “action plan” to address industry concerns about ratings.

Earlier this week, it was revealed that Nielsen had mistakenly mixed up the universes for “digital cable with pay” and “digital cable without pay,” from last November to January, for MarketBreaks, one of the qualitative reports it supplies to clients. Nielsen had notified its customers about the situation and said it would be providing corrected data.

With respect to video-on-demand, Whiting said Nielsen would come back with a plan to measure such viewing in 90 days. That’s a result of clients having “expressed a sense of urgency regarding measurement of VOD viewing in our syndicated panels,” Whiting said.

Regarding DVRs, she said that clients want three streams of data: live ratings representing live viewing; same-day ratings, representing live viewing plus some same-day playback; and live-plus ratings, or live plus seven days of playback. In response to those requests, Nielsen is delaying the inclusion of homes with DVRs in the National People Meter sample until January 2006, when all three streams of data will be available.