Nielsen Decides That Web TV Matters
The company's TV ratings system will soon add web streaming.
February 22, 2013 by Rachel Cericola

It’s no secret that the web has become a main source of entertainment for a lot of people. In fact, plenty of consumers are cutting the cord to pay TV services, in favor of web-based content from Netflix and Hulu. Now, Nielsen has decided to acknowledge that, by adding web streaming into its mix of data.

Yes, the company that decides whether a show lives or dies is getting with the times—sort of. The New York Times says that The Nielsen Co. will soon expand its scope to broadband services, based on feedback from a committee that includes reps from networks, advertisers, and more.

The new definition of a television household “will include those households who are receiving broadband Internet and putting it onto a television set,” said Pat McDonough, the senior vice president for insights and analysis at Nielsen. Of course, that still seems to leave a lot of viewing habits out of the equation, but Nielsen is working on it.

According to The Hollywood Reporter, Nielsen plans to have the new system in place by the fall 2013 TV season. The new hardware and software will take measurements from cable, satellite and over the air broadcasts, as well as streaming devices like the Xbox and the PS3. That initial sampling may include the iPad. However, the company is hoping to make portables part of a more comprehensive solution very soon.

Still, don’t expect to see Netflix originals, such as House of Cards or the reboot of Arrested Development, in Nielsen’s weekly data. THR says that the new system will just track how much time is spent on those services. To actually capture more detailed data about what Nielsen families are watching is a more complex process.

Nielsen currently samples approximately 23,000 TV homes in the U.S.

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Rachel Cericola - Contributing Writer
Over the past 15 years, Rachel Cericola has covered entertainment, web and technology trends. Check her out at

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