The meeting Nielsen set with some of its big clients to discuss convergence measurement was today.
“We’re hearing from the clients that the timing is right to begin a broad roll out of internet meters,” said Sara Ericson, president of media client services at Nielsen who added that clients are also wary of affecting the quality of the TV panel. The fear is the more demands put on the existing panelists – such as tracking their Internet use – the greater the likelihood of them dropping out of the TV panel altogether.
According to executives present, CBS Research chief David Poltrack asked Nielsen about its ability to track video viewing from the workplace. Nielsen said it can track use of portable laptop computers but not work PCs. Turner Broadcasting research chief Jack Wachslag observed that the only reason to move content online is if it is supported by a currency. That is still not the case.
Two years ago we kicked off our blog launch with a panel interview of various people, including Dave Thomas, president, Global Media Client Services for Nielsen who said (among other things):
From a privacy standpoint, people see PC’s as dramatically different from TV’s, and, at this point, they are much less willing to allow us to measure their online activities.
It doesn’t seem to have changed much since then.
Though I agree, that online ad sales can only be assisted by good metrics, convergence metrics don’t seem to me to be among them. I’m definitely all for measuring viewing of Lost, and The Closer online. I'll be happy to see something more informative than what amounts to useless (for us, not so useless for PR purposes) metrics like number of streams data that don’t in any way measure total engagement (number of minutes viewing).
That data exists already and there's no reason ABC and the other networks can’t merge actual direct data that the networks have with the Nielsen panel demographics information to come up with a currency. I see that as a problem Nielsen should be a leader in solving. But that won’t solve that there are only about 15% of the ads online that there are on TV. Convergence measurement won’t solve that either.
The networks care about convergence measurement. The ad broker middlemen like Carat care about it, too. The advertisers who actually pay the bills though, they won’t care about convergence measurement unless online streams are running the exact same national ads as run on TV. The ads don’t run like that or anywhere even close. Outside of that, there really doesn’t seem much purpose to convergence measurement. But again, blaming the measure-er is a coping strategy for the networks who have had their business models ravaged.