Roku Inks Cross-Media Measurement Deal With Nielsen

Roku and Nielsen Sept. 29 announced a deal enabling for the first time four-screen measurement of content consumption across traditional TV, connected TV, desktop and mobile.

The pact affords marketers running ads with Roku to de-duplicate the campaign reach and frequency across all four screens in the home. This measurement, which begins in December, is available on the Roku platform, inclusive of any Roku media running through existing Nielsen measurement technology.

As consumers spend more time streaming, marketers are diversifying their media investments and continue to shift more dollars to TV streaming from linear. Streaming video consumption surpassed cable for the first time in July, capturing its largest share of TV viewing to date, according to Nielsen.

“Marketers can now better evaluate CTV inventory’s unique reach and frequency in conjunction with their entire Roku buy in a comparable and comprehensive manner, and advertisers can reduce waste and help ensure that relevant ads are delivered to the right audiences across devices,” Kim Gilberti, SVP of product management for Nielsen, said in a statement.

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The announcement builds upon a longstanding relationship between Roku and Nielsen that began with Nielsen Digital Ad Ratings measurement in 2016. Since then, more than 200 advertisers have measured their TV streaming campaigns on Roku.

“We believe that all TV ads will be accountable and measurable,” Asaf Davidov, head of ad measurement and research for Roku, said in a statement. “Our direct consumer relationship, our scale, and our tech all make us uniquely positioned to work with Nielsen to make measurement simpler and more accurate as marketers shift spend to TV streaming.”

Nielsen Sold to Private Equity Groups for $16 Billion

What a difference $1 billion makes. Media measurement giant Nielsen March 29 announced it has agreed to be sold to two private equity groups in an all-cash deal worth $16 billion, which includes the assumption of all outstanding debt. The sale is expected to close in the second quarter following regulatory approval, which includes the United Kingdom.

The sales agreement with Evergreen Coast Capital Corporation and Brookfield Business Partners follows on the heels of a previously rejected $15 billion deal Nielsen contended didn’t “adequately compensate” shareholders for Nielsen’s growth prospects. That deal included Nielsen investor Elliott Management Corp., which is affiliated with current suitor Evergreen.

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“After a thorough assessment, the board determined that this transaction represents an attractive outcome for our shareholders by providing a cash takeout at a substantial premium, while supporting Nielsen’s commitment to our clients, employees and stakeholders,” chairman James Attwood said in a statement. “The consortium sees the full potential of Nielsen’s leadership position in the media industry and the unique value we deliver for our clients worldwide.”

The deal comes as Nielsen has seen it legacy TV ratings business model challenged by media giant clients, including NBCUniversal, WarnerMedia, and Paramount Global (formerly ViacomCBS), who questioned Nielsen’s ability to properly adapt to tracking digital consumers, including subscription streaming video consumers.

Nielsen last year launched branded weekly top 10 charts for most-streamed content across household televisions — a metrics largely dominated by Netflix.

Regardless, senior executives at Evergreen and Brookfield say the Nielsen brand still commands respect in the crowded media measurement ecosystem.

“After months of deep market analysis, industry diligence and management reviews, we are firmly convinced that Nielsen will continue to be the gold standard for audience measurement,” said Jesse Cohn, a managing partner, and Marc Steinberg, a senior portfolio manager, with Evergreen and Elliott, respectively. “Having first invested in Nielsen nearly four years ago, we have a unique appreciation for the company’s ongoing relevance to the global, digital-first media ecosystem. Today’s outcome represents a significant win for Nielsen’s shareholders and for the business itself, as our multibillion-dollar investment will help Nielsen reinforce its transformation at this critical inflection point.”

Ashwin Navin, co-founder/CEO of Samba TV, said the Nielsen acquisition is evidence of the demand that we and others are seeing from the capital markets to fund the next generation of media measurement companies.

“The ad industry is moving to a multi-currency future, where omni-channel measurement systems built on first-party data need to capture everything that viewers see on a global scale,” Navin said. “Nielsen’s legacy in measurement is quite strong and going private should give the company the time and resources needed to retool and develop future-proof solutions that play in this multi-currency world.”

Netflix to Upend Viewership Data, Focusing on Time Spent Streaming

With a record 142 million households streaming original series “Squid Game,” and more than 214 million subscribers worldwide, Netflix is leveraging its market position with plans to disclose more viewership data outside quarterly fiscal reports.

The once-shy data company is now using its take on viewership to drive brand awareness and content popularity. While some observers may scoff at Netflix recording a viewer after 120 seconds of streaming, Netflix contends the time frame underscores its move toward tracking hours — not subs viewing — its original programs.

Later in the year, Netflix will shift to reporting on hours viewed for original titles rather than the number of subscriber accounts that choose to watch them.

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“We think engagement as measured by hours viewed is a slightly better indicator of the overall success of our titles and member satisfaction,” co-CEOs Reed Hastings, Ted Sarandos and CFO Spencer Neumann wrote in a Oct. 19 shareholder letter. “It also matches how outside services measure TV viewing and gives proper credit to re-watching. In addition, we will start to release title metrics more regularly outside of our earnings report so our members and the industry can better measure success in the streaming world.”

In the meantime, Netflix said action movie Sweet Girl, starring Jason Momoa (68 million households watched in the first four weeks); Kissing Booth 3 (59 million), the last installment in the rom-com trilogy; the animated family film Vivo (46 million); and Blood Red Sky, a German-language action horror movie (53 million) resonated among Netflix subs in the quarter. Season five of “La Casa de Papel” (aka “Money Heist”) and season three of “Sex Education” generated audiences of 69 million and 55 million households in their first four weeks, respectively.

Netflix expects new limited series “Maid,” which launched Oct. 1 just after the end of Q3, to score with subscribers. The streamer expects the story about a woman living on the poverty line, by award-winning playwright and screenwriter Molly Smith Metzler, to reach 67 million households during its first four weeks.

“While the goal of our local content executives is always to create locally authentic stories that will resonate in their country (like ‘The Chestnut Man,’ which we expect will be streamed by about two thirds of its Danish subs, Netflix’s main goal to be a global, direct-to-consumer service, which enables creators to reach broader audiences — and gives our members an even greater choice of stories to enjoy,” Hastings, Sarandos and Neumann wrote.

Samba TV Bows Global TV Viewership Dashboard in Time for Tokyo Olympics

Samba TV July 23 announced the launch of its global Real-time TV Viewership Dashboard, an interactive TV analytics dashboard featuring geographic and demographic analysis of viewership in real-time across the world, starting with four of the largest media markets: the U.S., U.K., Germany and Australia.

Samba TV’s ACR technology, integrated at the chipset level across 24 smart-TV brands and addressable footprint of 46 million devices globally, identifies content that appears on the TV screen, including TV shows, commercials, movies, and video games.

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“The Olympics this year will underscore the importance of television and its unique ability to bring together billions of people in living rooms across the globe,” Samba TV co-founder/CEO Ashwin Navin. “TV data is critical for the media industry to understand the rapid changes in viewership behaviors pre-, mid-, and post-pandemic.”

Samba TV’s Real-time TV Viewership Dashboard will be put to the test during the delayed 2020 Tokyo Summer Olympics, and other large-scale media events. The platform allows advertisers the ability to see what channels and shows are being watched in their city or country within seconds. The dashboard leverages the company’s proprietary automatic content recognition (ACR) technology to provide in-the-moment insight into viewership across markets.

“Gone are the days of waiting days, weeks, or months for analysis of TV events that have already happened,” said Navin. “We are unlocking the power of real-time TV data and this first-of-its-kind solution raises the bar to make real-time insights available to everyone.”

Nielsen Rebooting Media Measurement Tools

TV ratings pioneer Nielsen Dec. 8 announced plans to launch a single, cross-media data analysis to drive more comparable and comprehensive metrics across all distribution platforms. Called Nielsen ONE, the new analysis will evolve the current metrics that underpin the more than $100 billion video advertising ecosystem using a phased approach. The company plans to launch the single measurement platform beginning in Q4 2022 with the intention to fully transition the industry to cross-media metrics by the Fall 2024 season.

Nielsen data shows that between March and August 2020, U.S. adults spent 12.2 trillion minutes with digital, 11.1 trillion minutes with linear TV and 2.8 trillion minutes streaming video — and these numbers continue to grow exponentially. As audiences move between linear, streaming and digital, Nielsen contends advertisers are demanding a single, de-duplicated view of their audiences across all platforms and mediums. Concurrently, publishers want to provide more ad options for buyers and improve the overall viewer experience.

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“With Nielsen ONE, we are delivering a single, comparable metric for TV and digital that will provide video consumption across all platforms, services and devices,” COO Karthik Rao said in a statement. “For media buyers and sellers, this means better monetizing their assets and maximizing their investments. Today’s announcement marks a major milestone for Nielsen as we put our cross-media vision into motion.”

The new media measurement tool claims it will enable advertisers and publishers to transact using a single metric across linear and digital that is verifiable, independent and standardized across the industry. With a single number, marketers will have visibility into total video consumption regardless of platform or device. Marketers will also benefit from a better understanding of unique audiences, the ability to better understand frequency and reduce double counting, inflated metrics and advertising waste, according to Nielsen.

“Cross-media measurement is a generational opportunity and one of the hardest challenges that our industry has had to solve,” said Ben Jankowski, SVP of global media for Mastercard. “There are tough technology issues, but also a very real cultural shift that needs to happen that encourages broadcasters, platforms and marketers to work closely together to drive better productivity across the board.”

Nielsen has already begun transforming its audience measurement solutions to increase resilience and flexibility.  As previously announced, Nielsen said it is “future-proofing” its digital measurement, evolving its National TV charts to include addressable measurement and expanding Internet-connected TV coverage to include additional smart TV manufacturers and digital video platforms in 2021. Starting in Q4 2022, Nielsen will release cross-media ratings that it claims would deliver metrics at sub-minute intervals for individual ads and content. Nielsen expects this measurement will ultimately become the foundation of the cross-media buying and selling process, succeeding the current form of TV and digital measurement no later than the Fall 2024 season.

comScore Partnering with Hulu for Video Measurement

In the rapidly changing home entertainment market where consumers have multiple options for consuming video, advertisers and marketers are left trying to make sense of a fragmented viewer across linear TV, over-the-top (OTT), desktop, and mobile platforms.

Media measurement company comScore in September will bow a pilot program – dubbed “campaign ratings” – aimed at tracking audiences across linear TV and digital platforms with reliable audience demographics.

Media partners include ABC, CBS, CNN, Disney, Fox, Freeform, GroupM, NBC Universal, The CW Network, Turner, Viacom and Hulu – which, unlike Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, includes ads in its SVOD and online TV platforms.

comScore is melding linear TV with OTT measurement after it found that two-thirds of OTT audiences also watch linear TV, demonstrating the convergence of digital and linear video consumption and a growing need for unduplicated, cross-platform measurement.

In fact, another recent comScore study revealed that OTT alone (through catalog programming and time-shifting) increased the average number of linear TV viewers for a specific network program by 20%. When also combined with mobile and desktop, linear TV viewership for that same program increased by 42%, with audience reach increasing by 33%.

“We heard from customers that cross-platform video measurement is a pain point that continues to magnify as audience viewership and engagement proliferates across screens,” CEO Bryan Wiener, said in a statement.

comScore is partnering with Hulu to backend OTT measurement capability, after finding Hulu subs generated the most user time per month out of the major streaming service providers, including Netflix and Prime Video. Hulu had more than 20 million U.S. subscribers as of May.

“By powering comScore’s cross-platform measurement product for OTT, we’re giving marketers more options for measurement and a third-party validation,” said Julie DeTraglia, VP and head of research at Hulu. “Our partnership with comScore is just another step towards achieving comprehensive measurement for the entire industry.”

Robin Garfield, SVP of research and scheduling at CNN, said “campaign ratings” represents an “important step” towards helping the entire media industry accelerate investments in content across a growing number of platforms and environments.

“Industry adoption of new measurement methodologies will be key in keeping up with the changes in consumption of our content,” added Kavita Vazirani, EVP, insights and measurement, NBC Universal.

“Providing measurement that can facilitate accurate planning, and fully value premium video is a priority for both buyers and sellers, and we look forward to expanding on our efforts with comScore through this beta to create measurement solutions that advance the industry,” said Beth Rockwood, VP of portfolio research at Turner.