Nielsen ratings expand to capture Kiwis streaming habits: Heres how

We know that streaming is big, but services like Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ have been loath to release any viewing numbers, but the odd cumulative figure for a hit series.

But figuring out how many New Zealanders viewed, say, The Tiger King – or Netflix as a whole – has largely been guesswork.

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Now Nielsen says it can capture those streaming numbers.

Back in October 2020, the firm said it would add streaming meters to the 500 households that make up its Nielsen Television Audience Measurement (TAM) panel.

That rollout has finally wrapped up. And with a streaming meter now in every Nielsen household, local broadcasters should be able to get a better handle on the size and shape of the multi-national streaming services’ audiences and how their own on-demand services are stacking up against them.

This enhancement, in partnership with Think TV (a new media insights vehicle collaboratively run by TVNZ, Discovery and Sky) will include a measure of viewing to all internet-enabled devices in the household in addition to traditional “linear” TV viewing, Nielsen says.

If you’re curious about the first results, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.

Data from the newly installed 500 streaming meters is currently being technically developed and reviewed to ensure it is representative, robust and ready for release, Nielsen says. The process is expected to take s few months.

Once it’s good to go, Nielsen’s survey will for the first time show how many people and how much time is being spent on broadcaster video on demand sites (like 3Now and TVNZ OnDemand) and measure viewing of other video platforms such as YouTube and Netflix.

Hardware meters

But let’s back up a minute.

How is it possible for Nielsen to know if, say, a teenager hidden in their room is watching Netflix’ “End of the F******g World” on their iPad?

“The streaming meter is a piece of hardware that monitors streaming via Wi-Fi and Ethernet and measures passively alongside a panel member’s router,” Nielsen NZ executive director Tony Boyte told. the Herald.

“And yes it will capture all forms of streaming to every internet-enabled device in the household,” Boyte added.

“So for the first time, we will be able to measure if someone watches Netflix on any device in the household.”

The introduction of a streaming meter measurement to the Nielsen TAM Panel is a major milestone for the New Zealand Media Industry, Boyte says.

“This technology provides transparency in the measurement of video streaming for broadcasters allowing them to more effectively monetise their content in the future. We’re excited to partner with NZ broadcasters in being one of the first countries around the world to be introducing this new measurement technology.”

In October 2020, as the streaming meter rollout began, TVNZ marketing director Jonathan Symons said: “We’re thrilled to be part of the NZ TV industry that’s bringing streaming meters into the Nielsen panel.We’re seeing significant growth in all things streaming from simulcasting to catch-upGlen Kyne content to exclusive to OnDemand viewing – and streaming meters are a big step to us further understanding the dynamics of overall broadcast TV and online viewing. Bring it on.”

Discovery general manager Glen Kyne said: “For too long, the traditional linear only audience measurement has not reflected the reality of how our audiences engage with us. It’s now time for the industry to unlock the scale of the audiences we serve, no matter how they consume our content, and add value back to the industry by bringing insight and intelligence to our total viewing audience. This is the first step.”

And then Sky chief creative officer Steve Bayliss weighed in: “As Sky progresses on our goal to accelerate our streaming services offer to best meet the changing needs of our customers, it is a very exciting development to have Nielsen, our viewership measurement partner, join us on the journey.”

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