For many, the turn of the year is always a time to make plans, to get your house in order, to simplify.

For Nielsen, that is no different. This week, the media measurement giant announced a new initiative, Nielsen ONE, that is pitched as a marketer’s best Christmas gift – the unification of all media metrics.

The effects of a reliable cars campaign with Nielsen One: The Holy Grail of Cross-Media Measurement

Nielsen is not so much a launch as a roadmap, with updates between January 2010 and 2024 including:

  • deduplicated measurement
  • sight of digital viewing platforms
  • measurement of individual ads
  • combination of Nielsen’s distinct business units

What’s more, ONE is actually three:

  1. ONE Platform: a cloud app for using viewing data including ACR and integrations from digital platforms and CTV providers.
  2. ONE Panel: Unifying Nielsen’s panels and meters for each device, including with a new ID resolution system to validate audiences.
  3. ONE Product: A simplified Nielsen portfolio including tech that can measure linear TV ads at the sub-minute level.

Goodbye, C3 and C7

In this video interview with Beet.TV, Nielsen’s GM of audience measurement Scott Brown describes why the changes are being made.

“Marketers need to understand where their audiences are or are not overlapping by platform, so they can begin to optimise frequency,” he says.

“We are eventually moving away from C3, C7 as the core fundamental television currency and pivoting to that cross media currency that measures individual ads, rolls that up to a campaign level and then provides a comparable metric with also measuring the audiences to content as well.

“Marketers can go to one place to see their total reach for their given campaigns, and then compliment that data with a view of Nielsen ratings or Nielsen measurement of content itself so that the Nielsen ratings themselves will also be a total video view going forward.”

Roadmap to unification

ONE won’t happen overnight. According to its announcement: “The company plans to launch its single measurement solution beginning in fourth-quarter 2022 with the intention to fully transition the industry to cross-media metrics by the Fall 2024 season.”

Brown describes the roadmap like this:

January 2021 – Deduplicated viewing

“In a few short weeks, Nielsen will be launching its new methodology for measuring digital audiences and deduplicating those audiences with linear measurement,” Brown says.

“We’ve partnered with Vizio, DIRECTV, Dish, as well as Nielsen’s own Advanced Video Advertising Group to measure the ad-tech that they’re bringing to the market and actually provide that as part of our currency.”

“What that solution entails is integrations and partnerships with the walled gardens, along with new Nielsen ID that we have been building out with different data sources, most notably our Nielsen panel.”

2021 – Digital viewing data

“We are bringing big data into our core television ratings themselves,” Brown says. “So that will include data from smart TVs and from set top boxes coming into the actual core ratings in 2021.

“We will be showing what that data looks like going through an MRC audit, but the end game for us is to begin to measure those 55 million devices that we’re adding to our measurement along with our panel to really measure more addressable advertising.”

2021 H2 – Individual ad measurement

“We’re going to start to preview data in the second half of next year that shows audience estimates for each individual advertisement that airs on live television,” Brown says.

“(We will) provide that view with the addressable advertising that is present and begin to show how that dovetails with the digital world which already provides that level of granularity and campaign level metrics.”

2022 Q4  – Final product launch

According to its announcement: “The company plans to launch its single measurement solution beginning in fourth-quarter 2022 with the intention to fully transition the industry to cross-media metrics by the Fall 2024 season.”

Brown adds: “Our traditional core linear television business will be merging with the measurement that we have been instrumenting as part of our total audience initiative around measuring streaming services and measuring digital devices,” Brown explains.

Journey to the holy grail

In other words, the holy grail of multi-screen measurement and deduplication is still four years away.

But Nielsen has set out an important series of projects and milestones on a journey that the industry has been aiming to make for some time.

Brown says the intention is to take Nielsen ONE global, through working with joint measurement committees in countries where it has measurement contracts.

And, despite the new influx of digital data, Brown says panels will still have an important role to play.