Nielsen will now count Hulu Live TV and YouTube TV viewing in its TV ratings in an effort to count viewers shifting to online streaming platforms.
The ratings company will measure the platforms’ viewers as long as their programming has the same commercials and content as when it airs on linear TV. Nielsen has included streaming data in its ratings before, but only from traditional TV network streaming services, such as CBS All Access.
YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV are still new to market, and may not have many viewers to count. YouTube TV and Hulu live TV launched in April and May of this year, respectively. Neither YouTube nor Hulu have released subscriber numbers for their live TV services yet, though YouTube Red, the company’s subscription video on demand offering, had 1.5 million subscribers in November 2016, while Hulu’s subscription offering has roughly 15 million paid subscribers.
However, its possible that more viewers will migrate to YouTube Live TV and Hulu Live TV as cord-cutting accelerates. Pay TV subscribers declined by 0.9% in Q1 2017, after dropping 0.4% in Q4 2016, according to UBS analysis cited in Business Insider. Here’s how Nielsen’s move to measure these audiences could further investment in digital video:
- Brands depend on Nielsen as an intermediary to buy ad space. Nielsen provides a crucial service as an independent third-party measurement provider. One of the main criticisms leveled at platforms like Facebook and Google by ad agencies and brands is that these platforms don’t provide third-party verification into their metrics, and instead “grade their own homework.”
- It will facilitate ad spending on digital TV. The new measurement capabilities will give media buyers and sellers a more holistic look of network TV audiences across multiple platforms, including digital TV services. Nielsen’s incorporation of digital TV in its ratings measurement signals that the space is maturing and primed for ad investment. Furthermore, Nielsen will be able to continue working with brand advertisers that it has worked with for decades, which should help these advertisers feel more comfortable within a rapidly evolving digital environment. This ultimately may also open the door for Nielsen to begin adding other live TV streaming services like Sling TV and PlayStation Vue.
BI Intelligence, Business Insider’s premium research service, has compiled a detailed report on U.S. digital media ad revenue that:
- Forecasts US digital ad revenue through 2021.
- Highlights the rising popularity of digital media with consumers and brands.
- Explores why digital video advertising growth will exceed all other formats over the next five years.
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