Consumers have more ways to find their favorite programming among viewing devices and services. The growing fragmentation of the media market challenges advertisers to obtain a more unified view of people’s viewing habits.
“The lines between what traditionally has been referred to as ‘television’ or ‘digital’ are becoming increasingly blurred,” Kimberly Gilberti, senior vice president of product management at ratings company Nielsen, said in this interview with Beet.TV. “If you are an advertiser and you’re trying to reach your consumer in the most effective way possible, you really need insight that spans across all platforms where a consumer can be reached — not so much looking at data in the siloes of the past.”
Amid these rapid changes in viewing habits, Nielsen last year announced a plan to launch Nielsen One as a single, cross-media solution for more comparable and comprehensive metrics across platforms. The company will introduce the single measurement service in the fourth quarter of next year, as it seeks to transition the industry to cross-media metrics by the fall 2024 season.
“What we envision as part of Nielsen One is a cross-media solution that will allow people to make bigger and better decisions based on a holistic view of the consumer,” Gilberti said.
Nielsen has multiple data sources that complement its consumer panels, which are comprised of representative samples of the broader population. Its information sources include return path data from set-top boxes, automatic content recognition (ACR) data from smart TVs and census-level data from different services in connected TV.
“All of that data by definition wasn’t built inherently for measurement,” Gilberti said. “What we’re able to do with the Nielsen panel is to calibrate and adjust that data to correct for any biases and any efficiencies.”
Holistic Profile of Viewers
While there are many sources of data, they don’t provide a holistic view of consumer habits. For example, a set-top box may provide about a particular device in a home, but not reflect over-the-air viewing, Gilberti said. Media planning has become more difficult as a result.
“You end up with quite a lot of waste today, and as a consumer, you probably can think of instances where you’ve been served the same ad way, way too many times,” Gilberti said. “The challenge in managing that frequency and eliminating waste comes down to understanding your audience and how they consume media.”
The Nielsen panel is representative of all U.S. TV households, based on census data that include age, gender, race, ethnicity and household size. The panel provides a source of truth for comparisons with other data sets, and helps to fill in the gaps among them.
“The beauty of the panel is it allows us to have a representative sample of measuring total consumption within a home,” Gilberti said. “For things that can’t be measured by the data sets that we have, we can fill in those blanks.”