Netflix Viewers Will Finally Be Counted by Nielsen

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Netflix Inc. and other streaming-video providers are in approximately 40% of American homes, but up until now very little is known about the viewing habits of those subscribers.

That’s all about to change as the Nielsen company begins to measure subscription online video viewership. In documents reviewed by the Wall Street Journal, Nielsen will analyze the audio portions of shows to identify which shows are being watched – and it can all be done without the consent of Netflix, Amazon and other streaming services.

Getting more information about viewers. Its welcome news for content owners and media buyers who want to know more about how people are watching, and what they are watching. Big media companies have made significant income from selling the streaming rights of their shows to Netflix and Amazon. But there’s concern that making streaming available could hurt the viewership of traditional, ad-supported television. The traditional model is where they make most of their money, but it’s also where viewers are spending less and less time.

With the addition of the Nielsen data, media companies will be able to determine if licensing content to Netflix and their peers is impacting traditional methods of viewing. Both Netflix and Amazon declined to comment on the news, but analysts say that the data could significantly change the power dynamics between TV studios and streaming services.

Better data = better intel. As it stands now, streaming services have a lot of leverage with studios because only they have viewership numbers. With more data, it will level the playing field, and it could also help talent negotiate with studios as well.

In the documents that detailed the tracking process, Nielsen revealed that when people sign up for streaming video services they watch up to 20% less TV than they used to. But media executives have often played down the notion that streaming services are impacting their viewership ratings. In the third quarter of this year, television viewership dropped 8% in the valuable 18-49 demographic.

 

With the new Nielsen data, the true impact of streaming services on television viewership can be revealed.

 

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