Nielsen is digging deeper into the streaming world with a new product measuring time spent on specific platforms.
The main provider of TV ratings is launching Nielsen Streaming Video Ratings, which it says will provide data and insights into how much time viewers spend on a variety of streaming services. The new product follows Nielsen’s SVOD Content Ratings, which measure total minutes of streaming for specific titles, which it compiles in a weekly top 10 list.
In other words, the Streaming Video Ratings will compare streaming platforms, whether subscription or ad-supported, the way Nielsen’s linear TV ratings show which networks have the most viewers.
The new service comes as Nielsen estimates streaming now makes up a quarter of total TV usage in the United States — up from 18 percent a year ago. Among streaming-capable homes, Netflix alone accounts for 7 percent of TV time.
“By 2024, it’s estimated that streaming platforms will have amassed 210 million subscribers, which represents a staggering number of consumers and a major shift in media habits,” said Kevin Rini, senior vp product management at Nielsen. “Now more than ever, it’s important for our clients to have a clear understanding of the streaming landscape, both from a program or content perspective, which our SVOD service does, as well as at a macro view of audience consumption that takes into account the total use of streaming platforms comparable to linear TV. Nielsen Streaming Video Ratings does just that — rounding out our suite of streaming solutions and providing a comprehensive view of streaming consumption and advanced audience demographics. It will help any business buying, selling or investing in media to have the clear picture of the impact of these consumer shifts.”
At the beginning, Nielsen will measure streaming across 10 platforms: Amazon Prime Video, Disney+, Hulu, Netflix — the four services currently included in the SVOD Content Ratings — and YouTube, Fox’s AVOD service Tubi, ViacomCBS’ Pluto TV, Comcast, Charter Spectrum and Sling TV. It will also categorize viewing by the type of app viewers use, whether it’s subcription-based, ad-supported, network, social, gaming, or MVPD and virtual MVPD.
The debut of the company’s Streaming Video Ratings comes as a consortium of networks is questioning the accuracy of Nielsen’s TV product during the pandemic. The Video Advertising Bureau, which represents networks to the ad community, has demanded a third-party audit of Nielsen ratings starting in March 2020, claiming Nielsen has let its national TV panel degrade during the pandemic. The company refused, noting that its services are regularly audited by the nonprofit Media Rating Council.