Nielsen Creates Unique Data Solutions for Its Clients

By Nielsen Archives

I have heard that, when it comes to data, clients are like snowflakes: Each of them is unique in what they need. In a media ecosystem that is rapidly transforming, the uniqueness of each client's competing needs is one challenge that Nielsen is facing head on.

At Nielsen's recent press breakfast, Sara Erichson, Executive Vice President Client Solutions and Audience Insights; Jessica Hogue, Senior Vice President Product Leadership, and Kelly Abcarian, Senior Vice President Product Leadership brought us up to date on the company's work in cross-device and adtech data measurement. The presentations included real life examples from clients as to how data can be used to gain further insights.

The Viewing Paradigm

Erichson's presentation, titled, "The Current Media Ecosystem and the Growth of TV Connected Devices," revealed trends in cumulative media consumption:

  • The amount of time adults 18+ spend consuming media is at an all-time high of twelve hours a day -- a remarkable amount of time, indicating greater simultaneous multi-device usage. We seem to be multi-tasking more than ever. Notably, the digital portion of this number does not include e-mails and texts. The trend from 2002 to 2016 shows consistent growth. At some point we may not sleep!
  • Driven by the overall proliferation of devices, the growth from 2011 to 2016 is fueled by mobile. Radio and Live TV consumption have been fairly consistent over the past 14 years.
  • Smartphone ownership/access is currently 86% as reported by the scaled Nielsen panel as of February 2017, growing +6% from year-ago levels. SVOD (57% of US homes) has overtaken DVR (54%) and is growing at a faster pace (+13% vs +7% respectively). Internet Connected Devices (31%) and Enabled Smart TV (29%) have the lowest percentage of adoption at this time, but just wait -- they are the two fastest growing sectors, according to Nielsen (both up +29%).
  • And yet, with all of these stresses to business-as-usual, daily time spent viewing both Live and Time Shifted TV by  adults 25-54 has remained remarkably flat quarter over quarter for three of the past four quarters, but did decline some in Q1 2017.  However, Erichson noted a recent decline of -18 minutes of viewing per day for Live TV. Viewing patterns vary by age, so those patterns could vary, especially among younger viewers. "There are more devices connected to TV than ever before," she stated. This will inevitably intrude on the viewing status quo.

Using the Data for Specific Client Insights

Jessica Hogue's presentation showcased specific client applications of the data. Citing Nielsen's Total Audience measurement initiative, she described the three main facets of Total Audience that gives Nielsen the "flexibility to measure all content with consistent and comparable metrics for content and ads and to provide transparency for the media ecosystem."

  • Commercials in Content Measurement, which includes VOD, Any Linear TV Watched on a Digital Device and Out of Home.
  • Ad Measurement, which includes Total Ad Ratings and Digital Ad Ratings.
  • Content Measurement, which includes Total Content Ratings, Digital Content Ratings and VOD Content Ratings.

Using specific client examples Hogue cited CBS, which was able to attribute greater viewership to VOD and DVR usage for Persons 2+. "CBS prime series grew an average 54% with VOD and DVR, than its live TV viewing," she stated.  The growth varied by program. For example, The Big Bang Theory gained +67% in viewership, Live+35 Days vs Live Same Day.

Turner was able to ascertain growing viewership loyalty to their program Good Behavior on TNT.  Live+3 viewing among adults 18-49 grew over the weeks while VOD viewing declined -- indicating that the program was becoming more of an appointment view.  Tracking the viewership of the premiere alone, that episode gained +37% in VOD over time as viewers sought to catch up. "Different programs have a different mix of DVR and VOD," Hogue explained.

ESPN made good use of Nielsen's Out of Home panel data noting that sports viewing grows overall by +9% when OOH is included. Some sports benefit more than others -- for example, College Football Live was up +19%, NFL Live +17% and College Basketball regular season +12%.  Interestingly, OOH is more female and skews younger among adults 8-34 from broadcast only or broadband only homes. "We capture cord cutters," Hogue said.

The Future

In tackling the data snowstorm, Nielsen has been "evolving audience segments for planning, activation and measurement," essentially cultivating standard segmentations that can be used industry-wide, Abcarian said.  The MRC recently accredited Nielsen's Digital Ad Ratings Viewability integration of IAS and Moat and Nielsen's Digital TV Ratings. "This is the first solution to receive accreditation from the MRC for its contribution to TV audience measurement for programming viewed on computers and mobile devices," she added.

Nielsen's goal is to "deliver on next day audience behavioral segments by making them available in third-party buying platforms, such as Media Ocean," Abcarian added. "Nielsen will enable standardized segments delivered against high-quality universe estimates based on real people and true behaviors. The plan is to syndicate these segments and make them available into buying systems so clients can transact on either age/gender or advanced demographics across linear TV."

"It is clear to us that the days of Live+3 and even Live+7 measurement are insufficient because the percent of viewing is getting more dispersed by day, by platform and by pre-existing audiences, such as OOH, that we have never captured before," Erichson noted.  "It is the combination of those incremental measurements where everything is going. But every network has to make its own priorities as to where its own audiences exist." 

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