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How Will Measuring Netflix Influence TV Campaigns?

November 21st, 2017   ||    by Melanie Brown

In TV, Nielsen ratings are the currency for media buyers and planners. Networks use the ratings to determine the relative size of their audiences compared to other programs airing in the same time slots.

Nielsen is now launching a new service with the goal of measuring Netflix audiences across connected devices. But how will measuring Netflix influence TV campaigns?

Ratings History—or Lack Thereof

When Netflix started producing original content, the already popular streaming service was catapulted into the same lineup as the broadcast and cable networks we all know. Almost immediately, Netflix ratings became the industry’s holy grail. Networks wanted not only to measure their own content’s streaming audience but also the audience Netflix’s original content was garnering.

While several companies have attempted to measure Netflix’s audience—as well as that of other streaming video-on-demand (SVOD) services—they’ve ultimately fallen short, as AdWeek points out. Nielsen’s new service, SVOD Content Ratings, promises to provide ratings on both the season and episode level for Netflix viewers across connected devices, with the intent to roll out the service to Hulu and Amazon in 2018, according to AdWeek.

Although Netflix claims Nielsen’s reported numbers are inaccurate, it’s likely Nielsen’s panel-based estimates will nevertheless capture relative viewership.

Historically, networks that put their content on Netflix only had access to viewership numbers for their own programming. Now, any network that subscribes to SVOD Content Ratings may not be measuring Netflix in exact numbers, but it’ll get an idea of how its content is stacking up against other streaming content—and not just its own.

What to Watch for

This changes the game for programmers. They’ll be able to get an idea of which programs they should be putting their tune-in ads into, as well as what kinds of programs are resonating with audiences.

However, there is a caveat to measuring Netflix this way: Much of Netflix programming has a kind of rolling audience that binge watches an entire season almost all at once. This speaks to the trendiness of a program, but it may not necessarily mean it’s good-quality programming. Regardless, if something’s trending, there’s likely a reason audiences are gravitating toward it.

Will Nielsen’s new SVOD Content Ratings service finally give TV programmers and advertisers the insight they’ve been searching for? Tune in next time to find out.

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