The Nielsen Company said Tuesday that its television measurement homes would soon be Internet measurement homes too, bringing the company a step closer toward providing the integrated ratings that media companies are demanding.
Starting now and going through August, Nielsen will install Internet meters in 7,500 of its television panel homes, where viewership is extrapolated to produce national TV ratings. Eventually — Nielsen has not said when — data from those homes will be used to calculate combined ratings for TV and Internet viewing.
Nielsen’s measurements are vitally important to the television industry because the TV ratings are used to sell an estimated $70 billion in advertising each year.
With more consumers watching TV episodes via the Internet and shifting among TV sets, computer screens and mobile phones, Nielsen has been under pressure to track viewership more effectively. The Consortium for Innovative Media Measurement, a group of media companies, said last month that “media measurement is not keeping pace with urgent business needs.”
On Tuesday, Colleen Fahey Rush, who heads the coalition’s executive board, called Nielsen’s announcement “encouraging,” but she added that the change would be difficult. “Nielsen has a lot of heavy lifting ahead of them,” she said.