What’s In A Currency? Nielsen Releases Converged Linear And Smart TV Metric

Nielsen released a measurement solution on Friday that combines the demographic data from its TV audience panel, the People Meter, with Gracenote’s ACR data based on four million US households with LG smart TVs.

The data service, which opens to all buyers and broadcasters beginning in January, will mark the first time Nielsen has merged its national linear TV panel data with Gracenote’s smart TV data.

Amobee will be the first DSP to bring the offering to market, though Nielsen plans to add more ad tech partners later in the year, said Kelly Abcarian, general manager of Nielsen’s video advanced advertising group.

One of the big challenges for TV networks right now is that linear television reach is going down, but the number of people consuming broadcaster content is not, said Dan Callahan, Fox’s VP of audience and automated sales. Fox is a beta partner for Nielsen’s new data service.

Instead, people are watching on their phones, computers, OTT sticks and alternatives like video on-demand. But many of those viewers don’t register on Nielsen’s national TV panel, the currency of broadcast advertising.

OTT and CTV viewers also can’t be credited on age or gender demographics like with TV campaigns, where advertisers pay based on the number of, say, young women in a market Nielsen says viewed the commercial.

With linear and smart TV data attributed together, Callahan said Fox could back up its intuition that broadcast content and influence hasn’t diminished so much as spread to channels not credited by the Nielsen TV currency.

“We’ve seen in our own research the number of unduplicated audiences that stream and consume our entertainment,” he said. “Before, we had no way to tell that full story.”

Gracenote's four million US households wouldn't be a huge audience-targeting set by the standards of OTT apps like Pluto TV or Tubi, but since the data is being used for modeling based on census counts, like Nielsen's national TV panel, it creates meaningful scale.

Advertisers are also better equipped to adopt the cross-channel audience measurements now, too, which should help adoption, said Brad Feinberg, VP of media and consumer engagement at MillerCoors, another launch partner for Nielsen’s converged video measurement.

People talk about media convergence from the supply side, Feinberg said, since it’s publishers and broadcasters who are distributing content across channels. But equally important is the convergence that must happen within brands and agencies for cross-channel measurement to work.

Brands like MillerCoors used to segment marketers into mediums like TV, out-of-home and digital, or even more siloed channels like search, email and social. Now MillerCoors has a “precision marketing” team that sits across addressable media, and planning and buying teams split by brand but not by channel.

The result, he said, is that video campaigns are planned and attributed holistically, instead of the historical system with infighting between digital, social and TV channels for budgets and ROI.

Big TV advertisers are also more comfortable spending a higher percent of overall marketing on tech and data.

MillerCoors is spending “more than we realized we ever would” on data compared to even a few years ago, Feinberg said. He said marketers are getting over the old-school dichotomy between “working media” and “non-working costs”.

“Ultimately, it’s all working costs,” he said. “They’re just working to do different things.”

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