Metrics and demographics for online video viewing is critical for the success of the industry.  Nielsen/NetRating has developed a system that provides this critical data to publishers and advertisers.  VideoCensus been deployed to various publishers including  NBC, CNN, VideoEgg and Brightcove.  The system is in advanced beta and will be released with full public reporting and metrics in October.  This is very cool because it combines Web analytics along with an extended "panel" of Nielsen viewers.  So, the data is mix of traffic, unique streams and demographics.

Scott Ross, head of marketing at Nielsen Online, explains all of this in this interview.

The other thing that is very important is that the system has been designed to track videos delivered via P2P, download as well as Flash-based streaming.   The key to this is the embedding of a tag by the publisher.  When the video is viewed, a ping is sent to Nielsen. (I assume that this embed will also be used in live online video, which will undoubtably grow in the months ahead — great article on this topic this weekend by Duncan Riley of TechCrunch.)

Even niche publishers like Beet.TV can embed the Nielsen code and have authoritative numbers.  Very cool.  Here’s what Brightcove’s Jeremy Allaire told me about VideoCensus and comScore’s efforts:

"VideoCensus is an important development for the Internet TV market, and Brightcove is actively supporting the initiative by integrating their tracking approach into our platform.  As video distribution moves from being offered on single, destination websites to mass distribution via syndication, the measurement challenges for advertisers and content owners are significant.  We’re hopefully that Nielsen’s efforts, along with the progress that ComScore is making with Video Metrix will help foster great visibility into online video inventory."

Better Blog Metrics from Nielsen/NetRatings Too?

The other big development coming out of Nielsen/NetRatings is the development of a tool to measure Web and blog traffic and usage.  As many bloggers know, accurate traffic numbers and demographics are sorely missing.  Robert Scoble states it so well here. 

— Andy Plesser

Grab this video of Scott.

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