Nielsen announces Nielsen Digital Program Ratings to measure TV viewership online

connect laptop to TV

Our TV viewing habits have migrated to online platforms like Netflix, Hulu, and network websites. Unfortunately Nielsen, the organization that measures TV viewership (among other things), has been relying on a limited number of participants and their set top boxes to gauge the popularity of a TV show. But Nielsen announced that it was finally venturing into the measurement of online TV, and that the way popularity is measured is about to get some digital influence. 

Nielsen is kickstarting its initiative with its pilot program, called Nielsen Digital Program Ratings, with networks including A+E, ABC, AOL, CBS, The CW, Discovery Communications, FOX, NBC, and Univision on board. The program begins next month in May and ends in July. The commercial release of the program is “targeted for later this year.” An actual date hasn’t been set.

Nielsen isn’t tracking viewership on third-party video sites like Netflix, Amazon Instant, or Hulu just yet – it’s just a trial program for now – so instead the viewership that will be measured comes from these network’s own websites. So if you’re watching Fringe on FOX’s website, for example, Nielsen will be able to track this.

While this won’t really change your day-to-day viewing habits, once the program is chugging along, it might be great news for the TV viewers that have a favorite show in danger of getting cut from the network. With the extra data, executives might have a better idea about how popular a network’s TV show really is. It might be enough to save a show or two that might otherwise be axed.

Nielsen says that its online TV measurement program is powered by its Online Campaign Ratings, which gauges TV viewership for online advertising campaigns. Nielsen’s Digital Program Ratings will measure similar metrics “including unique audience, stream counts, and reach by age and gender for TV programming viewed online.”

For now, Nielsen is sticking to measuring just TV content on participating network’s websites. Since many Internet-connected users aren’t solely watching TV content on their desktops, Nielsen says that support for other types of content and devices will roll out eventually.

“The pilot for Nielsen Digital Program Ratings is a major milestone for the industry,” SVP for Global Digital Audience Measurement at Nielsen Eric Solomon said in a statement. “As a companion product to Nielsen Online Campaign Ratings, Nielsen Digital Program Ratings will enable clients to better understand the online audience for their programming by harnessing the same methodology Nielsen already uses to measure the audience for related advertising.”

The Digital Program Ratings isn’t the first foray that Nielsen has had in experimenting with other types of viewership measurement tactics. Nielsen announced in December the launch of its Nielsen Twitter TV Ratings – a forward thinking move by Nielsen to track TV viewership metrics solely using Twitter data.


Sony to launch State of Play videos for PlayStation 4, PlayStation VR

Sony will debut a new video program named State of Play on March 25. The first episode will focus on new PlayStation 4 and PlayStation VR games, and it remains to be seen if Sony will tease the PlayStation 5.

Tesla revives its referral program with chances to win a Roadster

Tesla has revived its referral program that ended in February because of cost pressures. This time around the perks aren't quite as diverse, though it does offer regular chances to win a Roadster or Model Y.
Home Theater

Here’s how to watch Apple’s March 25 product reveal event live

It's almost here: Apple's much anticipated March 25 event, where it is widely expected to announce several streaming services, including on-demand and live TV with original programming. Here's how to watch it live.

Epic Games is offering $100 million to game developers with no catch

Epic Games launched a new grant program called Epic MegaGrants. The program will dish out $100 million in funds to developers working in the 3D graphics community, even if they don't use Unreal Engine.

Don’t be fooled! Study exposes most popular phishing email subject lines

Phishing emails are on the rise and a new study out by the cybersecurity company Barracuda has exposed some of the most common phishing email subject lines used to exploit businesses. 

How much!? British Airways glitch results in $4.2M quote for family vacation

Website errors sometimes cause flight prices to display at way below the correct price. But British Airways recently experienced the opposite issue when it tried to charge a family more than $4 million for a vacation in Mexico.

You can now listen to Google Podcasts on your desktop without the app

The Google Podcasts app is no longer entirely necessary to listen to the podcasts it offers. With a simple tweak of the sharing URL, you can listen to a Google Podcasts podcast on your desktop or laptop without the app.

Want to save a webpage as a PDF? Just follow these steps

Need to quickly save and share a webpage? The best way is to learn how to save a webpage as a PDF file, as they're fully featured and can handle images and text with ease. Here's how.

Delete tracking cookies from your system by following these quick steps

Cookies are useful when it comes to saving your login credentials and other data, but they can also be used by advertisers to track your browsing habits across multiple sites. Here's how to clear cookies in the major browsers.
Social Media

A Facebook, Instagram bug exposed millions of passwords to its employees

Facebook, Facebook Lite, and Instagram passwords weren't properly encrypted and could be viewed by employees, the company said Thursday. The network estimates millions of users were affected.

Get ready to say goodbye to some IFTTT support in Gmail by March 31

If This Then That, the popular automation service, will drop some of its support for Gmail by March 31. The decision comes as a response to security concerns and is aimed to protect user data.

Worried about your online privacy? We tested the best VPN services

Browsing the web can be less secure than most users would hope. If that concerns you, a virtual private network — aka a VPN — is a decent solution. Check out a few of the best VPN services on the market.

Drunk shoppers spend $48B per year while intoxicated, mostly on Amazon

Drunk shoppers spend more than $400 per year, according to the results of a survey carried out by The Hustle. The drunk shopping industry is apparently worth $48 billion, and Amazon is turning out to be the biggest beneficiary.

Our favorite Chrome themes add some much-needed pizzazz to your boring browser

Sometimes you just want Chrome to show a little personality and ditch the grayscale for something a little more lively. Lucky for you, we've sorted through the Chrome Web Store to find best Chrome themes available.