Nielsen is the king of measuring what people are watching on TV, and now the company wants to expand their domain. In a move which surprised industry insiders with its aggressiveness, the company has announced that it will integrate internet ratings with its TV ratings, and that it will start to measure viewership on portable devices like iPods.
The internet will join their rankings in two ways. First, they will track video content delivered to televisions through the net. Second, they will expand their People Meter sample to include the internet. They are also working to develop methods of tracking viewing on portable devices, and they are assembling a 400 person iPod user panel as a first step.
That information will be very valuable to content providers and website owners. Up to this point, the information available is largely transactional – we can know how many units of content are sold, but we can’t know how the content is used, where it goes, and how quickly users move it around. The new information would change the way marketers could operate.