There’s not yet (and perhaps never will be) a particularly exhaustive explanation of how they’ll be pulling it off, but Nielsen –the almighty arbiter of what is successful on television by means of its audience reporting– has announced that they have developed new ratings systems that will include online views of programs on the web as well as on smartphones and tablets.

Rolling up late to a very messy party, Nielsen has long been in the awkward position of being much less accurate a barometer for public interest in TV shows and broadcasts than simply looking at the number of YouTube views the bootleg clips get the following day just from iPhones. Still, the advertising industry that keeps much of television afloat has not been quick to accomodate for online and mobile viewing data, and with Nielsen coming in to formalize that information we may see a new wave of programming hit the web.

This all likely boils down to Nielsen looking at and aggregating the same data networks and hosts could have looked at and provided themselves, but with them being averaged out into some comfortable, third-party metric it will standardize things in a way more conservative advertising networks and programmers are comfortable with. I’m interested to see how all this changes the way TV success is reported on once those reported numbers filter back out through the trades and start affecting executive decisions. Hopefully it will at least push things in a more responsive, public-serving direction in some small way, as a show like, say, Party Down or something that gets massive success online very quickly will have a better chance at surviving with everything taken into account.

Oh, and the announcement came with some interesting stats that a full half of Americans now report watching video online, with a little over 1 in 10 tablet owners doing so every day.


Source | Deadline