Unfortunately, the Nielsen press release of its VideoCensus data with TV show online viewing numbers making the rounds today is nearly worthless since it doesn’t include the numbers from Hulu.com, one of if not the most popular site for watching full length TV shows which ABC and CBS do not participate in. But we aim to be complete, so here you go:

From the Nielsen Online release:


“Privileged” Ranks No. 1 by Time Spent in December

New York, NY – February 12 , 2009 – In its first public release of online individual TV program
rankings, The Nielsen Company today announced that ABC.com’s “Lost” had 1.4 million unique
viewers in December – the most among online broadcast TV network entertainment programs
streamed from tagged network Web sites and embedded network video players.

NBC.com’s “Saturday Night Live” was a close second, with 1.1 million unique viewers, followed by
ABC.com’s “Grey’s Anatomy” with 879,000 unique viewers in December (see Table 1 and
VideoCensus methodology section below).

The network Web sites included were from broadcast networks that had tagged their online offerings:
ABC.com, CBS Television, CWTV.com, FOX Broadcasting, and NBC.com. The rankings exclude
Hulu, which currently does not report VideoCensus data at the program level, and include unique
viewers who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the month.

”As I see it, the broad diversity of top television network entertainment programs online suggests that
there is more to online viewership than a simple extension of the TV audience,” said Jon Gibs, vice
president of media analytics, Nielsen Online. ”While the online popularity of some shows, like ‘Grey’s
Anatomy’ suggests that some people are using the Internet to catch up on programs they usually
watch on television, the online popularity of other programs like ‘Saturday Night Live,’ indicates that
there is a Web audience that might otherwise not watch these programs at all. These viewers are
driven by a morning-after water cooler effect. Then there’s ‘Lost,’ which was not even on television in
December. We believe viewers were using the Internet to familiarize themselves with the plot in
advance of the show returning in January.”


When ranked by time spent per viewer in December, CWTV.com’s “Privileged” ranks No. 1, with 215
minutes per viewer, followed by NBC.com’s “Chuck” and “Lipstick Jungle,” with 163 minutes and 153
minutes, respectively.

”Audience size is clearly important, but we are still in a ‘taste testing’ phase for online long form
video,” said Gibs. “Consumers are starting a stream to see if they like it, and maybe they finish
watching the program and maybe they don’t. Advertisers should be looking to balance overall reach
with minutes per viewer, since those programs with longer viewing times are ones where consumers
are much more likely to actually watch the advertising. Focusing on time will also surface shows like
the ‘Young and the Restless,’ that advertisers might not normally look to.”


“We have begun publicly ranking specific programs streamed online because we achieved a critical
mass of broadcast networks that are tagging their programs,” said Gibs. “These rankings provide
important insights into user activity and moving ahead, we will work with clients to address issues of
labeling and distribution to make the ranking even more granular.”

Nielsen Online today also provided overall online video usage and top online brands ranked by video
streams for December 2008. Month-over-month, all metrics were flat with a slight downtick in time per


VideoCensus Methodology and Metrics:
Nielsen Online’s VideoCensus combines patented panel and census research methodologies to
provide an accurate count of viewing activity and engagement along with in-depth demographic
reporting. Online video viewing is tracked according to video player, which can be used on site or
embedded elsewhere on the Web. For example, if a “Saturday Night Live” clip from NBC.com is
embedded on a personal blog, that video would be attributed to NBC because of the NBC video
A unique viewer is anyone who viewed a full episode, part of an episode or a program clip during the
month. A stream is a program segment. VideoCensus measurement does not include video
About Nielsen Online:
Nielsen Online, a service of The Nielsen Company, delivers comprehensive, independent
measurement and analysis of online audiences, advertising, video, consumer-generated media, word
of mouth, commerce and consumer behavior, and includes products previously marketed under the
Nielsen//NetRatings and Nielsen BuzzMetrics brands. With high quality, technology-driven products
and services, Nielsen Online enables clients to make informed business decisions regarding their
Internet, digital and marketing strategies. For more information, please visit http://www.nielsen-online.com.
Also, visit our blog at http://www.nielsen-online.com/blog.
About The Nielsen Company:
The Nielsen Company is a global information and media company with leading market positions in
marketing and consumer information, television and other media measurement, online intelligence,
mobile measurement, trade shows and business publications (Billboard, The Hollywood Reporter,
Adweek). The privately held company is active in more than 100 countries, with headquarters in New
York, USA. For more information, please visit, http://www.nielsen.com.

You download a copy of the full release here.

Posted by:TV By The Numbers

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