TV Companies Team Up to Take On Nielsen

By Rob Quinn,  Newser Staff
Posted Aug 14, 2009 6:37 AM CDT
Nielsen measures viewing figures through the polling of 18,000 homes fitted with special remote controls.   (Shutter Stock)

(Newser) – A  group of media companies has joined forces with major advertisers to challenge Nielsen's dominance in TV ratings measurement, the Financial Times reports. The firms involved—including NBC, Time Warner, Disney, and Procter & Gamble—aim to have their rival audience measurement scheme up and running by next month, a move that could potentially shake up the way in which the $70 billion spent on TV ads yearly is parceled out.

Analysts say the massive rise in online TV viewing via sites like Hulu has made measuring more difficult, and more important, increasing dissatisfaction with Nielsen: "The most deficient thing is there’s no single source measurement," for television and digital video, one expert says. Nielsen currently measures internet video viewing through a "convergence panel," but those figures don't form part of the national sample it bases ratings on; its full roll-out the TV-internet polling isn't expected until 2011.