Our TV-blogging friend and the original TVNewser, Brian Stelter wrote today about Nielsen's inroads with regard to Anytime Anywhere Media Measurement. Stelter cites data first reported by Advertising Age, headlined March Madness Gets Huge Bounce From New Ratings Measurement (I'm not sure if registration is required or not, just warning you).
I'm sorry I missed it, especially as I sprung for the $99 to actually subscribe to Advertising Age. But mostly I find it so completely worthless and lacking in any helpful analysis that I rarely read it beyond skimming the weekly headlines each Sunday night. I guess I skimmed too much, because that was a pretty big miss on my part.
Anyway, the long and short of it is that the first data made publicly available at an advertising conference in New York last Tuesday showed significant gains in NCAA basketball coverage when out of household viewership was included. According to Mr. Stelter, Nielsen confirmed the data yesterday.
On March 20, a day of early-round college basketball conference match-ups, CBS saw an in-home rating of 2.96 for a 7 p.m. game, according to Nielsen people meters. When in-home visitors and out-of-home viewers were counted, a viewership equivalent to a 0.71 ratings point was measured, increasing the game's audience by 19 percent.
Stelter notes that Nielsen may make the data broadly available as early as next month, but will report it separately, apart from the ratings that are used for selling advertising. I translate that to mean roughly this: advertisers are saying, "Yeah, that's interesting. We're not by any means going to pay extra for those viewers, so, whatever!"
While indeed the increased ratings will be welcome by the television networks, if the advertisers won't pay for them, for all practical purposes, they are completely meaningless. The technology seems pretty cool, using cellphones to detect ambient audio. I'm sure advertisers will balk both at the technology and the Nielsen panel, which definitely skews young. 4,700 people aged 13-54.
The networks will love it, and issue press releases galore when it suits them. The advertisers will hate it and not want to pay extra. Still, it will be interesting to see this evolve and whether the nets are ultimately successful in forcing the increases on the advertisers.