Nielsen To Test Ratings For Online Viewing

Broadcast, Cable Networks Participate in Pilot Program

Nielsen said Tuesday that a number of TV companies will participate in a pilot program of Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, which measures the audience for TV content viewed online.

A+E Networks, ABC, CBS, The CW, Discovery Communications, Fox, NBC and Univision will be part of the test, which will run from May through July. AOL will also be a participant.

Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will deploy the same metholology the company uses in its online campaign ratings service, which delivers TV-like metrics for online ad campaigns. Nielsen Digital Program Ratings should provide overnight audience data, including unique audience, stream counts and reach by age and gender.

Nielsen says that combining its digital program ratings and its online campaign ratings will provide a more holistic view of the online and TV audience for programming and for advertising. The company is aiming for a commercial release of its digital program ratings later this year.

“The potential to measure video viewing of specific programs on linear TV as well as the Internet is significant,” Alan Wurtzel, President of Research and Media Development, NBCUniversal, said in a statement. “It’s an important step toward reaching the ‘holy grail’ of true cross-platform measurement.”

Nielsen Digital Program Ratings and Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings use a patent-pending process combining traditional Nielsen TV and online panel data with aggregated, anonymous demographic information from participating online data providers, including Facebook, the company said.