While Nielsen people meters measure TV audience, they also define American commercial television: TV that advertisers can buy. Nielsen is going to expand this definition: will this also expand the TV advertising market?
- A new meter will be installed in September 2013 in metered TV households (about 23,000 for the national sample, NTI), ready for the beginning of the next season. Afterwards, the so-called "TV definition" will include OTT where Apple TV, Roku, game consoles are connected to a home TV set. As a result, Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, Hulu, Vudu, etc. will be "measured", but only if they agree to encode their signals for Nielsen. The new definition will also include iPads, with other kinds of tablets to be added later.
- But there is still a long way to go before Nielsen follows TV viewers everywhere: TV out of home (campus, bars, hotels, airports, etc.) is not yet taken into account (with a few exceptions). What about Aereo? Sling? Smartphones? etc. And why not include programs watched more than 7 days after their first on-air distribution (Live+7)? In the new TV world, audience cumulates during weeks, on different platforms. Sometimes people watch everything they get right away (binge viewing, cf. Netflix); sometimes they wait for weeks before watching (time-shifting). In the new TV world, viewers are free.
- Audience should not be calculated in the same way for programs as for commercials. Advertisers want the audience of a commercial when it is aired (published the day after). Studios want the audience of programs after a full cycle of watching (published weeks after).