Nielsen captures all with Total Audience

Nielsen’s Total Audience measurement tool — already two years in the making — launches in December.

According to Adweek, the company that’s synonymous with measuring TV audiences worldwide is preparing to roll out a new product that tracks audience views across all platforms. Tracking coverage includes TV, of course, but also DVR, VOD, connected TV devices (such as Apple TV), mobile, desktop PCs and tablets. What’s left out? For the moment, just streaming content on wearables like Apple Watch.


Nielsen reports that an early Total Audience measurement test revealed that for one US client’s broadcast drama (aired in early September):
– 45 percent of the episode’s audience watched during its live airing
– An additional 32 percent watched it via DVR during the first seven days after it aired
– 2 percent watched on DVR between 8 days and 35 days after it aired
– 7 percent of the audience watched it on VOD within 35 days
– 6 percent watched via a connected TV device
– 8 percent watched digitally, streaming it on a PC, mobile device or tablet

Nielsen noted that in the adults 25-34 demographic, only 15 percent watched the episode live, 22 percent used a connected TV to watch the show, and 18 percent watched it digitally. Results were in marked contrast to that for adults 50 and older (of whom, 64 percent watched the episode live).

Adweek previewed the tool, noting that it allows users to “break down programs by categories like unique audience, reach, gross average minute audience (both in viewers and GRP—gross ratings point, where one GRP is equal to 1 percent of TV households), minutes viewed and frequency (the average number of exposures to a show or network)”.

Adweek also notes that Nielsen can remove duplicate views by the same person on different platforms from total numbers.

Ad viewability measurements, including video, by demographics will also be available by the end of the year.

Why should you care?

TV advertising remains comparatively expensive despite declines in viewership, but marketers will welcome what promises to provide a more complete picture of audience reach.

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About the Author Jeremy Templer

Jeremy is a Partner and Senior Consultant at SureFire. Jeremy has been working in search since 1996, when he joined the Australian search engine, LookSmart. After relocating to San Francisco, he was instrumental in the development of the company’s paid search ad platform. At analytics company Coremetrics (now owned by IBM) he established an in-house search agency managing campaigns for Coremetrics clients such as Macy’s, Bass Pro and Lands End. At Acxiom he managed members of the pioneering SEO firm Marketleap and worked with clients such as Capital One, American General Finance and Kaiser Health. Joining SureFire in 2009, he is the head of Paid Search Advertising and oversees the delivery of AdWords and other PPC campaigns. He also helps clients make sense of their website data.