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Nielsen statistics will track streams by device starting next month

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Robert Kacpura/123RF
There was a time when tracking what people watched was a fairly simple thing for Nielsen: give people a box that would integrate into their TV setup, and that was it. Now with not only countless streaming services but also the increase in hardware devices that can be used to watch TV shows, the company has its work cut out for it.

Nielsen does track viewer numbers on devices like the Roku and Amazon Fire TV as well as game consoles, but right now they’re all tracked together. Starting next month, though, how these are tracked is going to get much more granular.

Nielsen will now give its clients a look at connected-TV devices by breaking them down by brand, Variety reports. It will also now provide information on the type of device used, including streaming boxes, game consoles, smart TVs, and DVD and Blu-Ray players.

Individual devices tracked will include the Amazon Fire TV, Apple TV, Roku, and Google Chromecast, as well as game consoles in the Microsoft Xbox and Sony PlayStation lines, as well as the Nintendo Wii. These new metrics will be available to customers starting on April 25.

“The ability to know how many consumers use which brands of TV-connected devices, how often, and for how long, is critical for clients who need to make informed content decisions and understand their total audience,” Nielsen’s executive VP of client solutions and audience insights, Sara Erichson, said in a statement.

In addition to the detailed metrics, Nielsen is adding yet another way to look at TV viewership. Called Total Use of Television (TUT), the new metric adds connected-TV devices to traditional TV viewing for what the company calls “a complete view of the use of the TV set.”

This data will help Nielsen track exactly how many homes across the country use streaming boxes and the like, as well as what programming they watch on those devices. In turn, this gives TV networks and other programming providers a better look at how we watch TV. Ideally, this will lead to more options for what to watch in more places.

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