Nielsen Says Networks Not Getting Full Credit For Live Viewers Using Streaming Services
Nielsen yesterday said that networks "haven’t been getting full credit" for all of the people watching live TV through streaming services, "illustrating the pressures on the measurement company to keep up with the rapid evolution of viewing habits," according to Joe Flint of the WALL STREET JOURNAL. Often, live content through a streaming service "lags behind the same content being delivered via cable, satellite or over-the-air broadcasting," and that delay is "resulting in those viewers not being considered live by Nielsen." The specific issue causing viewers to fall out of the live viewing bucket is the "25-second threshold Nielsen has for differentiating between a live viewer and a delayed viewer." Nielsen said that it is "working with clients to change its processing systems to redefine 'live' viewing for streaming content on TV sets to within three minutes." Flint notes the discrepancy is "only impacting live ratings." Sports programming "typically has live viewership of well over 90%, and that is primarily how sporting events are sold to advertisers." NBC Sports Senior VP/Research Joe Brown said, “As the media landscape has shifted, there needs to be an accommodation to accurately measure live audiences watching Sunday Night Football and other live events via virtual MVPDs. There is a significant undercounting due to latency, which could cost broadcasters tens of millions of dollars on the NFL alone over the course of the 2017 season.” Fox Sports Exec VP/Programming, Live Operations & Research Bill Wanger added, “We’re not getting full credit for our live viewing and it’s impacting us every weekend." ESPN said that it has been "leading the effort to fix the issues with Nielsen." ESPN Senior VP/Fan & Media Intelligence Cary Meyers said, "We’re confident Nielsen is making progress on a resolution in the near term" (WALL STREET JOURNAL, 12/7).